Shadow in the Cloud

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Shadow in the Cloud Movie Poster Image
Violent, profane WWII thriller addresses sexual harassment.
  • R
  • 2021
  • 83 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

When it comes to matters of great importance, we're capable of incredible things. Sexism interferes with a professional woman's ability to do her job effectively. Promotes courage and perseverance.

Positive Role Models

Maude offers an example of grit, resolution, self-control, and tenacity. She's skilled at a job typically associated with men. A Black male pilot is portrayed positively. Men talk crudely and condescendingly about a woman, making assumptions about her abilities and role and not always listening when she has something of value to say.


Intense war violence, including bombing enemies, receiving fire, explosions, falling from high altitude, and gun use -- some leading to death. Bloody wounds and gore. Physical fights. Constant peril and distress. References to domestic violence. Dangerous, scary creature. A woman is relentlessly sexually harassed.


Kissing. Crude remarks about a woman's body/attractiveness. Provocative painting of a woman in skimpy dress mounted atop a missile. 


Extremely strong language includes "f--k," "ass," "a--hole," "balls," "bastard," "bitch," "c--k," "damn," "goddamn," "hell," "p---y," "screw," "s--t," "slut," and "whore." Derogatory language, including racist remarks and disrespectful, misogynistic conversation.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A cartoon character drinks from a bottle with the implication that it's alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shadow in the Cloud is an action-packed, feminist creature feature that takes place aboard an Allied B-17 bomber during World War II. The film revolves around the barrage of sexual harassment directed at Capt. Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) of the Women's Auxiliary Force. Spousal abuse is a part of the storyline, but the on-camera violence is mostly related to battle combat -- dogfights, gunfire, explosions -- and it can get gory. There's also a beast aboard that Garrett alone must fight again and again. The bomber's crew is in constant peril, no one more than Garrett, who demonstrates grit and resolve in the face of impossible odds. But what she really has to overcome is the sexist attitudes that put her, her mission, and the entire crew in danger. Language is extremely coarse and frequent, including lots of swearing ("f--k," "c--k," "p---y," etc.) and derogatory language that's both misogynistic and racist.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBranwild January 9, 2021

Shadow of a bad Movie

This movie seems to be the Hallmark of the mindless social justice warrior trash Hollywood seems so proficient at mass producing these days. After watching it... Continue reading
Adult Written byZach19 January 12, 2021

Shadow in the cloud

Is this what Hollywood has to offer now? Let see supernatural flying rat meets WWII plus baby on board. Seriously this is what the people want! Yes it's ac... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byiwatchtoomanymovies_ February 6, 2021

One of the worst movies I've seen


At first, it was pretty good and the story was nice. Half way through, I think the directors just gave up honestly. They add Gremlins, which... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLeahleah July 10, 2021

What the heck did I just watch

I just made this account to make a review specifically for this movie. If I could give it 0 stars, I would. The movie doesn't make sense. My husband and I... Continue reading

What's the story?

During World War II, Capt. Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) boards a B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress to transport a top-secret package. She's met with come-ons, jeers, and skepticism from the plane's the all-male crew. Relegated to sitting in the ball turret sphere beneath the plane floor, her mission becomes even more dangerous once she spots a SHADOW IN THE CLOUD.

Is it any good?

This feminist creature feature delivers a wild ride of a good time -- as long as that's what you're anticipating. At first, though, it's hard to make heads or tails of what almost seems to be two different films stuck together. Shadow in the Cloud starts out as a serious World War II suspense drama, giving viewers a firsthand understanding of the sexism that women often face in the military -- and how that undermines the greater good. Through this portion, Moretz is a one-woman show, the camera focused solely on her as she sits in the cramped, all-window rotating seat below the plane. Only able to communicate with the crew through headphones, she tries different tactics to stop their demeaning treatment while ensuring that she and her important package arrive safely at their destination. It's a claustrophobic, up-close examination of what some skilled, capable women have experienced just trying to do their job. And then, when Garrett spots a "gremlin" standing on the wing, tearing an engine apart, you'd be forgiven for assuming that this is a rewrite of the famous Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." But that's just when the film takes a hard left in logic. Garrett climbs out of the plane's window, taking the film's legitimacy with her. That's OK -- as long as you're on board with the idea that the movie is going to transform into something completely different. When she shouts, "You have no idea how far I'll go," it's not a warning to the gremlin, it's a warning to viewers -- because you definitely do not know how far out the film will go in its last half hour. As the camera turns to show an upside-down Garrett right side up, the film's tone, style, and power dynamic change, leading into action sequences that are eye-poppingly improbable.

This is a film with a case of the "too bads." It's "too bad" that Shadow in the Cloud won't be seen in many movie theaters: The special effects and cowabunga action should really be seen on the biggest screen possible. And, with as many other people as possible -- that last half hour is meant to be a shared experience, with audiences collectively hooting and hollering at the screen and looking at each other while shaking their heads with a smile, mouthing, "WHAT THE WHAT??" It's "too bad" this isn't a full virtual reality experience, because it puts you in Garrett's seat, with her bird's-eye view of the Japanese Zeroes attacking her plane. And, it's really "too bad" that original writer Max Landis is associated with this film, because the very nature of it is so, so close to his real-life situation (he was ousted from the project after multiple accusations of sexual assault and misconduct) that you can't shake his presence. And thanks to the gremlin storyline, you can't not think of Twilight Zone: The Movie, which is notorious for the death of three actors under the supervision of Landis' father, John Landis. Or maybe it all makes sense -- perhaps Moretz and director/rewriter Roseanne Liang taking complete creative control of Landis' work and turning it into a feminist film is justice. It certainly plays out that way in the film. As it becomes clear to Garrett that none of the men on the plane have it within themselves to step up and destroy the slimy, vile, dangerous beast that's plaguing their flight, it's clear to viewers that the gremlin is a metaphor for all of the slimy, vile, dangerous nonsense that women have had to endure through the centuries -- and it's up to women to finally squash the demons whose presence threatens us all.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Garrett is a role model in Shadow in the Cloud. How does she demonstrate courage and perseverance? What do you know about the WASPs, WACs, and other ways women served during WWII?

  • Talk about how sexism and harassment affect both individuals and the workplace. How are contemporary human resources departments and military operations working to prevent this issue -- and/or give victims recourse?

  • The "gremlin" is a metaphorical device. What does it mean to the airmen in 1943 versus what modern-day viewers interpret it to mean to Garrett?

  • Why do you think the tone of the film flips? How is that flip signaled to viewers?

  • The film was rewritten by director Roseanne Liang after original writer Max Landis was ousted from the project after multiple accusations of sexual assault and misconduct. Does knowing that affect your opinion of the finished film?

Movie details

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