FLATLINERS Family Movie Review

flatliners

By Daren Smith

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

In Flatliners, a group of medical students explore the realm of near death experiences in order to find insights into the afterlife.

IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: D)

Flatliners starts with a scene where Courtney (Ellen Page) is driving and gets distracted by her cell phone and drives off a cliff, killing her sister Tessa in the crash. Honestly, it feels like a very on-the- nose foreshadowing of the movie to follow. Flatliners is a remake from the 1990 film by the same title staring Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, and Oliver Platt. Sutherland is in the remake as well, but it doesn’t improve the movie one bit.

Courtney and her medical school classmates start experimenting with near-death experiences when Courtney convinces them that this is uncharted territory and that they’ll be famous if and when the research proves her hypothesis. One by one she drags her friends, both willing and unwilling, down into sub-basement C of their medical building to experiment late at night. What they ended up getting from the experiment turns out to be much more than they bargained for.

It’s a movie that didn’t need to be made, but there were some good aspects. Ellen Page and Diego Luna are trying really hard with the script and direction they were given, but nothing in the movie beyond their performances were particularly exciting. The scares were cheap and expected, the story line was lacking, and the dialog and other performances felt unpolished and uninteresting.

IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?

In a word, no. The film is rated PG-13, and has thematic and visual content as well as language that would be unsuitable for anyone under that age. There are a few swear words including taking God’s name in vain, there’s a fair amount of PG-13 sexual content, meaning topless men and women seen from behind as well as before, during, and after sex. There is drinking and partying, and while they are in the basement experimenting the women are in bras or sports-bras and the men are shirtless. Thematically there are mentions of abortion and sexual desire, and there are some physical action bits that would be a bit much for the younger folk, including a death and a stabbing.

ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?

There were a few interesting messages that could spark some interesting conversations with your kids if they do show interest in seeing this movie. Maybe they really liked Diego Luna from Rogue One? The pursuit of knowledge is important and desired. Abandoning harmful and immoral acts is essential for peace, along with forgiveness and making amends.

Daren Smith is a film producer and screenwriter living in Provo, UT. He is the co-founder of Telekinesis Media (http://telekinesis.media), and blogs semi-regularly at darentsmith.com

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