By Jennifer Green,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Suspense, peril, language in emotional outer-space drama.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Gender and race aren't barriers to careers in rocket science or engineering, nor to leadership positions. Humans are capable of space exploration and scientific discovery. Humans are also capable of humility, self sacrifice, and caring. The crew must work together to solve their problem.
Positive Role Models
Marina is a commanding and respected leader for her crew. She makes difficult decisions and keeps calm in emergencies. David and Zoe have dedicated years of their lives to research that could benefit humankind. They're both willing to make extreme sacrifices for the well-being of others, though David first asks someone else to do so instead. Michael cares for his younger sister on earth and tries to be useful to the crew in space. The crew is diverse.
Violence & Scariness
The spaceship rocks violently on launch, causing one crew member to get ill. Michael is discovered when blood from a serious gash in his side starts seeping out of the space where he suffered a concussion and lost consciousness. When his body falls from the ceiling, he lands on Marina and crushes her arm. Zoe treats them both in procedures that look painful. Michael still bears the physical and emotional scars of losing his parents in an apartment fire as a child. Zoe tells a story about trying to save a man from drowning and nearly drowning herself. Two of the crew members take a dangerous and physically challenging spacewalk. One crew member gives another the means to kill himself in order to save the others. A final spacewalk could prove deadly.
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"F--k," "s--t," "hell," "jeez," "God."
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Products & Purchases
Two of the astronauts have a Yale vs Harvard rivalry going.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character jokes about giving another a beer when he feels ill. A needle is said to contain something powerful enough to kill a person.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Stowaway is a suspenseful story in which the characters' lives appear to be in jeopardy for most of the film. The suspense comes less from moments of extreme fear or action and more from the emotional drama of the unfolding situation on board the rocket ship. When three astronauts (Toni Collette, Anna Kendrick, and Daniel Dae Kim) discover an unplanned passenger on board, they must make tough choices. In the opening launch scene, the ship rocks so violently that one of the crew members gets ill and the commander worries the engines are underperforming. When the stowaway is discovered, he and another crew member suffer painful wounds that need treating. Two crew members must take treacherous space walks to save the entire crew, and one gives another the means to kill himself in order to save the others. One of the crew members will have to die to save the others, prompting an ethical dilemma. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "hell," "jeez," and "God." A character jokes about giving another a beer when he feels ill.
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Based on 5 parent reviews
The dumbest space story ever...
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Realism in Space
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What's the Story?
STOWAWAY begins as three astronauts (played by Toni Collette, Anna Kendrick, and Daniel Dae Kim) are taking off on a rocket ship to Mars. Their mission will last two full years. But after just 12 hours, they discover a man (Shamier Anderson) locked inside one of the ceiling panels of the ship, apparently knocked unconscious before the launch. His discovery causes damage to some key hardware, resulting in a loss of oxygen aboard the ship. The crew quickly realizes they only have enough oxygen for three humans to survive their trek, not four. They'll make a series of increasingly risky attempts to solve the problem because their lives depend on their success.
Is It Any Good?
This film follows a long tradition of space movies that combine psychological drama with action. Really, how could traveling to Mars be any different? Stowaway puts its astronauts in a dire situation that requires self sacrifice and quick scientific problem-solving to survive, not unlike other recent titles like The Martian, Gravity, or Midnight Sky. And like these other films, the believability of the story rests on the actors. This is especially true when you've got just one setting and four characters (even the voice of the company contact communicated with back on earth is muffled, meaning the conversations are viewed as one-sided dialogues). The actors here do a fine job, but Collette stands out as the conflicted commander.
The rocket, situations, and solutions will sound scientifically valid enough to the lay person, though it's never fully explained how Michael came to be locked inside the spaceship's walls or how he could survive a rocket launch there. In any case, the psychological drama is much more interesting here than the action scenes, and the build-up is more engrossing than the resolution. Even on the space walks, the physicality of the challenge or the external threats are less intriguing than the characters' reactions -- will they have the emotional stamina to succeed? The characters stare out at the earth, receding further and further away from their spinning ship, a visual reminder of their dilemma, their solitude, and the uniqueness of their circumstance. Stowaway itself may not be so unique, but it's an engaging, attractive, and well-acted drama.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Stowaway compares to other sci-fi or space films you've watched. What seemed familiar and what felt different?
The characters are researching how to sustain life on Mars. Why?
Do you think films like this one are scientifically accurate? Why are why not? Where could you go for more information?
The characters face an ethical dilemma when they realize they can't all survive. What would you have done in that situation? Do you agree with David's actions? What about Zoe's?
- On DVD or streaming: April 22, 2021
- Cast: Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim
- Director: Joe Penna
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: STEM, Friendship, Space and Aliens
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 116 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
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.
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