MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1

After the tragic death of her husband, Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) finds herself under a depressing burden of grief. Yet she determines to move on with life and do what is best for her six-year-old daughter, Julia (Marlene Lawston). Kyle quits her job, and the pair board an airplane headed from their old home in Germany to a new home in New York. But only a few hours into the lengthy flight, Kyle awakens to find that her daughter is missing, and a quick check of the cabin turns up no signs of the girl. Suddenly frantic, Kyle rallies the sympathetic but reluctant crew, who search the airplane until it appears obvious that Julia was never on the plane at all. Despite the doubts of the plane’s captain (Sean Bean) and air marshal (Peter Sarsgaard), Kyle is certain that Julia is somewhere onboard and will go to any lengths to prove that she is not delusional so that she can find her little girl.

While it begins with an interesting premise and successfully generates some mystery, Flightplan quickly becomes tediously disappointing. The plot is largely smoke and mirrors. A couple of surprising twists distract the audience for a few moments, but not long enough to hide the fact that the underlying story doesn’t make much sense. The film does, however, deal with an important question about belief and truth. Kyle believes what she saw, namely, that Julia joined her on the plane. But for the doubting passengers and crew, only seeing is believing. Because they lack hard evidence, they assume Julia doesn’t exist and reject Kyle’s request to believe what they have not seen with their own eyes. Viewers, likewise, are forced to ask themselves which belief — Kyle’s or the crew’s — is the truth. Unfortunately, even with this interesting theme, Flightplan’s weak plot, offensive language and violence make the film both mediocre and mildly unacceptable.

Preview Reviewer: Shaun Daugherty
Touchstone Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (4) times – mild (hell 3); strong (SOB 1)

Obscene Language: Few (3) times – strong (s-word 3)

Profanity: Several (8) times – moderate (OMG 2, G 2); strong (GD 2, J 1, C-sake 1)

Violence: Many times – mild (woman struggles with police officer and is handcuffed, woman runs through plane with people pursuing her, two men argue and struggle with each other); moderate (woman scratches man in the face, man knocks down woman, woman hit in face, woman hits another woman with an object, woman hits man in the head with a heavy object, man shoots at woman, air turbulence and threatening behavior on airplane cause passengers to panic, explosion in airplane kills a person)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: Woman must cope with the tragic death of her husband, portrayal of a woman and child in depression, portrayal of a threatening situation on an airplane, portrayal of self-described “Arab” passengers being profiled as terrorists and prejudicially treated by other passengers.

Running Time: 93 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults and Teens

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