Sully

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Sully Movie Poster Image
Great performances in tense, quietly powerful true story.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 96 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 19 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The story is an exploration of courage under fire -- staying calm under unthinkably difficult crises -- and showing compassion to those in need. Also celebrates the teamwork between Sully and Skiles and highlights selfless acts to help others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sully stays calm and responsive while the emergency unfolds. He doesn't panic, and he enlists Skiles' help to analyze the situation and make the only decision that offers the potential safety of his passengers.

Violence

Planes crash into buildings, both in Sully's nightmare and in computer simulations (the former could remind some viewers of 9/11, prompting discomort/unease). The actual emergency landing is frightening and tense, with passengers (including babies) crying, screaming, and panicking. Even knowing the outcome, the scene is harrowing. A flight attendant injures her foot and bleeds. The passengers panic as some land in the freezing water and scramble onto rafts. Two passengers land in the water and look on the verge of hypothermia/drowning before being rescued.

Sex

A make-up artist gives Sully a kiss on the cheek and tells him it's from her mother "who's single."

Language

Occasional use of "s--t," "bulls--t," "asses," generally used in life-and-death situations, as well as "hell," "damn," "bitch," and one "f--king" said in reference to New York's cold weather.

Consumerism

U.S. Airways is highlighted throughout the movie. Marriott is featured several times as the hotel where the crew stays after the landing and also where the pilot and co-pilot meet with their union reps and NTSB officials. Other brands seen/mentioned include Grey Goose, NY 1 network, CNN, and Del Frisco's steakhouse.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Sully goes into a bar for a drink and ends up having one named after him: "a shot of Grey Goose with a splash of water." The other patrons seem to have been over-served/drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sully is a fact-based drama starring Tom Hanks as U.S. Airways Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot of the 2009's "Miracle on the Hudson" emergency water landing. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the movie's themes include teamwork, compassion, and courage. It also has some swearing ("s--t," "ass"), mostly said in tense circumstances, as well as one "f--king" in regards to the weather. Violence isn't graphic but does include frightening, tense scenes of the landing, with passengers screaming, panicking, and more. There are also a couple of post-traumatic nightmares in which Sully envisions crashing into NYC buildings instead of safely in the Hudson (these disturbing scenes could remind some viewers of 9/11). A bar that names a drink after Sully has some over-served/drunk patrons.

User Reviews

Parent Written byFanBoyJosh314 September 18, 2016

Great Tribute to Hudson Miracle is intense

Tom Hanks stars as Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the veteran pilot who famously landed a US Airways plane in the middle of the Hudson River when both engi... Continue reading
Adult Written bymimijunebug November 24, 2016

amazing

i want to see it again again and again
Kid, 9 years old September 10, 2016

Powerful, inspiring, well-made drama about emergency water landing is intense.

This well-made, thoughtful, intense drama based off the true story of the USA airlines flight 1549's emergency landing in the hudson river in January, 2009... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bySalty Bird September 20, 2016

know your kids.

I can't really justify a specific age for this movie. It's a fantastic, beautifully done, gripping tale of suspense, and the aftermath of a near disas... Continue reading

What's the story?

SULLY is a docudrama about the well-publicized events leading up to the day in early 2009 when U.S. Airways pilot Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) made a dramatic emergency water landing in the Hudson River. Although the landing was publicized as a crash, putting down in the river was the only way that Sully and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), could land without crashing after a flock of geese struck their plane and disabled both engines shortly after take-off. The movie's dramatic tension revolves around Sully's post-traumatic stress, as he wonders whether he did the right thing in the wake of the National Transportation Safety Board's insistence that computer simulations of the same conditions showed that he could have landed the plane at two different nearby airports. Meanwhile, the media brands Sully a hero for the ages after the "Miracle on the Hudson" resulted in zero fatalities for the 155 passengers and crew on board the Airbus A320.

Is it any good?

Hanks delivers a winning performance as in Eastwood's thoughtful tribute to Sully's courage and humble heroism. Once again, the double Academy Award winner reminds audiences why he's one of the best actors of his generation, fully immersing himself in the role of a man with quiet confidence in his four decades of piloting experience and expertise in Airbus safety. Utterly believable in Sully, both physically (that silver hair!) and expressively, Hanks shares a brotherly chemistry with co-star Eckhart, who looks authentically tortured, relieved, and amazed at the fact that they successfully landed the plane without any of the 155 people onboard being seriously hurt.

Although the story occasionally feels a bit padded -- for example, the phone calls between Sully and his wife, Evelyn (Laura Linney), start to feel repetitive -- it's impossible to deny the story's compelling nature and how extraordinary the captain's triumphant landing is in the history of aviation. Unlike Flight, which follows a fictional pilot's fall from grace when it's discovered he's an alcoholic and drug addict, the very real Sully is refreshingly free of that sort of character-staining back story. Even the temporary villains of the story -- NTSB officials led by Mike O'Malley, Anna Gunn, and Jamey Sheridan -- can't stop the truth from prevailing: Sully is a hero for our time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Sully and the popularity of real-life hero stories. What's the movie's message about Captain Sully and what it means to be a hero/act heroically? Do you think there might be a downside to being a public hero? If so, what?

  • How did the plane crash sequence affect you? Was it realistic? Do different kinds of movie violence affect kids differently?

  • Which characters in the movie do you consider role models? Why? How do they demonstrate courage, compassion, and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths? How does Sully's character position him to be a hero? Did he consider himself that way?

  • Parents, if kids are worried about planes being taken down by birds, reassure them that the odds of an accident like the one in the movie are very low. Talk about the many measures in place to ensure that air travel is safe.

Movie details

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