By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
WHAT’S PASSENGERS ABOUT?
A man and woman wake up from cryo-sleep on a futuristic space flight decades before the other passengers.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: C+)
On paper, talented and attractive Hollywood stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt should make for an ideal onscreen romance. Indeed, one reason Passengers works as well as it does it their ability to elevate the material. Their chemistry suffers, however, from a under-cooked screenplay that hinges on deus ex-machina plot conveniences, laughable dialogue, and questionable ethics that give the romance a bit of a creepy vibe. Still, the visuals are phenomenal, the impressive sets alone are worth the price of a matinee, the stars are solid (Michael Sheen nearly steals the show as an android bartender), and the ending is emotionally-satisfying. Passengers is worth seeing if you’re a fan of sci-fi, romance, or the actors, but it fails to meet its potential.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?
Passengers is rated PG-13. It features one f-word and several moderate profanities. We see a man’s naked rear end as he walks around a spaceship. A woman wears a revealing swimsuit. There’s two sex scenes (one right after the other), one of which features obscured nudity. There are intense moments of peril.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
Lies and dishonesty always come to light and damage trust in relationships. Accountability and vulnerability draw people close. You may not control your circumstances, but you can control your response and attitude.
For another sci-fi action-romance I recommend The Island, with Ewan McGregor and Scarlet Johanssen.
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.