We generally do not review “R” rated movies in this website, but since we are  publishing an article about the main actor, Denzel Washington, this week we felt obliged to post a review of this movie.


Although this movie is not recommended for younger teens (It is rated “R” and has an objectionable scene) it does deal with some serious problems that some (or many?) adults and older teens face.


The main character is a commercial jet pilot who deals with various addiction problems (principally alcoholism, but also sex addiction and drug addiction). In spite of his addiction problems, he saves the lives of most of his passengers when his plane suddenly loses control and goes into a seemingly unstoppable nose dive towards the ground.


Yet as the movie progresses we see this man’s life spin even further out of control.


Although not everyone who views this movie may be dealing with the addictions that affect the main character, the story resonates in most viewers. It is a story of the battle between good and evil in the hearts of each of us.


And Denzel Washington gives another masterful performance as an actor, making the main character both believable and even heroic at times.


The movie can be the source of a healthy discussion among college aged teens, and if the first scene were edited out, the movie could be seen by upper high school teens as well.


Here are some discussion questions:


  1. What sort of addictions does the main character face? How did he acquire these addictions?
  2. What aspects of the main character are heroic in your opinion? What aspects are negative?
  3. Did you think the opening scene was absolutely necessary? Could it be done in another way?
  4. The main character realizes he needs to get rid of his addictions, especially alcoholism, and makes serious efforts in this direction, but ends up failing for most of the movie. Why do you think he fails? What hints does the movie give to the causes of his failures?
  5. How does the movie portray religious people? In a good light or a bad light? Do you think this is believable?
  6. The movie shows some scenes from meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. Have you ever heard of Alcoholics Anonymous or the 12 Step Programs? What do you think of them?
  7. What recommendations would you make to someone who is suffering some of the addiction problems that are featured in this movie? Do you think recovery is possible?
  8. Can trust in God and prayer help in healing and overcoming addictions? In what ways?
  9. What role does friendship play in overcoming addictions and beginning a new life? How is this featured in the movie?
About the Author:

Father Ernest Daly was ordained a priest by Pope John Paul II in 1991. He has an MA in Philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome, and an MA in Theology from the Regina Apostolorum in Rome. Fr. Ernest has spent the last 30 years of his life working in schools and with young people, and has been publishing Our Faith In Action® since its founding in 2003. He loves skiing, movies, and hanging out with his nieces and nephews (he has a ton!).

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