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Flight Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Soaring Actor, Crashing Movie Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Flight opens with one of the most harrowing in-flight-disaster depictions of all time.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    One unwelcome surprise is how shopworn the story's components prove to be. Still, they're enhanced if not redeemed by Mr. Washington's stirring portrait of a skillful, prideful pilot hitting bottom.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The film is not without flaws. It glosses over the story of the dissolutionof Whitaker's marriage and does not delve deeply enough into the source of his problems with his son. A romance with recovering junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly) rarely rings true.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    This absorbing drama provides Denzel Washington with one of his meatiest, most complex roles, and he flies with it.

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  • See all Flight reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Excellent but mature drama about alcoholic airline pilot.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Flight is an excellent, albeit mature, drama about an alcoholic airline pilot and the investigation surrounding a plane crash he was involved in. The crash sequence itself is realistic and harrowing, with injuries and wounds. Drinking and drugs are also big issues, as the main character is an alcoholic who frequently binges (sometimes resulting in arguing and/or injuries, some with blood), and a secondary character is a drug addict. There's also a nude scene early in the movie, when the main character wakes up in a hotel room with a girlfriend, and language is strong, with uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Director Robert Zemeckis also made the ultra-popular Forrest Gump, but Flight is more intense in some ways and less age appropriate for younger teens.

  • Families can talk about how Flight depicts drinking. Why does Whip drink so much? What are the results of his drinking? What consequences does he face? Do they seem realistic?
  • Why doesn't Whip accept any help from anyone? How can you help a loved one who might be an alcoholic/addict?
  • How did the violent plane crash sequence affect you? Was it too over-the-top, or did it seem to fit the story? How does a scene like that compare to something in a big-budget action movie? Which has more impact? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The story shows the difficult struggle of dealing with alcoholism -- the main character battles it and reaches a level of sobriety, learning to accept others' help and return their love. His actions and decisions also emphasize the importance of telling the truth (rather than lying to protect yourself) and accepting the consequences.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: It's difficult to call Whip a true role model, as his struggle falls on the negative side so many times. Throughout most of the movie, he pushes others away, behaves badly, and very often slips back into drinking again. But he earns viewers' sympathy, and when the crucial moment comes, he chooses what's right over his own selfishness.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: The first part of the movie includes a harrowing, realistic plane crash sequence in which many people are injured (on-screen) and some killed (offscreen). A stewardess risks her life to save a boy. Characters are seen in the hospital. A secondary character overdoses on heroin and nearly dies; she also goes to the hospital. The main character has many drunken binges that sometimes result in shouting or falling and hurting himself (some blood is shown). There's also some arguing and confrontation.

  • sex false4

    Sex: The movie opens with the main character in a hotel bed with a naked woman. She walks, naked, around the room, for long moments before the scene ends. The main character also appears to be naked but is mostly covered by the sheets. Later, the main character flirts with and kisses another woman.

  • language false4

    Language: Language includes many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "d--k," "ass," "damn," "hell," "crap," "goddamn," etc.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Many brand names of beer and hard liquor are shown, including Heineken, Bushmills, Grey Goose, Corona, Stolichnaya, Jim Beam, and more. Some of the brands have requested that they be removed from the film.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main character is an alcoholic but denies it throughout most of the film. He has many drinking binges, downing everything from beer to vodka, which usually results in shouting, passing out, and/or hurting himself. A secondary character is a drug addict; she's shown in an early scene shooting heroin and overdosing. After this incident, she stays clean throughout the rest of the movie. In one crucial scene, the main character's friend makes him a special "wake up" cocktail consisting of cocaine and tobacco. Whip also smokes frequently.