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Flight [2012] [R] - 7.6.10



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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A capable commercial airline pilot (Denzel Washington) performs an emergency landing in a substandard airliner carrying over 100 people and saves almost everyone on board. Although he seems to be a hero who averted disaster despite faulty equipment, an official investigation discovers that he had alcohol in his system during the flight. Also with John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, Nadine Velazquez, Tamara Tunie and Melissa Leo. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. [2:20]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - A rather dimly lit bedroom scene in close-up shows a woman's bare breast, followed by a shot of the fully nude woman (bare breasts, pubic area, abdomen and legs are shown) standing by a bed with a man lying in the bed, partially covered by a sheet (we see his bare back, arms, thighs and legs); the woman moves to a side view of full nudity and puts on a pair of skimpy panties before walking over and straddling the man in bed when they both say they must get ready for work.
 A woman massages a seated man's injured leg from the ankle to mid-thigh, and then leans forward and kisses him; the camera cuts to a morning shot of her in bed under a sheet, revealing her bare back, shoulders, arms and the side of one breast with the man sitting beside her wearing a T-shirt (sex is implied).
 A man in a hospital gown with his back to the camera reveals his full bare buttocks. A few women wear low-cut blouses that reveal moderate cleavage. A woman wears a short skirt that reveals partial thighs and in another scene, she wears a long slip that reveals arms, shoulders, cleavage and lower legs. Backstage in a theatrical dressing room, we see two men nude from the hips up, revealing bare chests, arms, shoulders, backs and buttocks; a third man asks a woman to photograph one of the men's genitals and she makes a crude remark. Two scenes feature a man wearing briefs, and lying on a bathroom floor (we see his bare back, chest, shoulders, arms and legs). One scene shows a man wearing a robe while sitting on a porch chair, revealing lower legs and one inner knee and upper thigh. A man wearing a T-shirt and shorts sits in an armchair.
 In a hospital, a friend visits an injured pilot and brings him a stack of pornographic magazines that he refers to as "stroke magazines," implying masturbation and possible addiction (please see the Substance Use category for more details).
 A man tells a woman that she could be his second wife and she smiles. A woman tells a man that she used to be a "masseuse," but really was a sex-industry massage girl. An attorney asks a bodyguard whether a man in a hotel room had any girlfriends visit him in the night and the guard says, "No."

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A commercial pilot takes off in a rainstorm with zero visibility, frightening his squealing cop-pilot, who's on his first flight, as they fly into extreme turbulence, bouncing passengers several times, causing luggage to fall out of the overhead compartments and resulting in people screaming; a woman passenger vomits a large amount into the aisle and after making it to sunny skies, the plane's hydraulics system fails, two engines catch fire, the landing gear doors shear off and the wing of the plane rips off a church steeple.
 A plane rolls to inverted status causing a child to fall out of a seat, other passengers hang upside down and a flight attendant dies when a shelf falls on her head and neck (we see a pool of blood); another attendant receives gashes to her neck and cheek and we see blood flowing. We see a field where many people are lying in the grass and others try to help them; several people have a little blood on their faces.
 A plane crash is shown once in real time and twice in replays on TV and in a safety hearing.
 We see a man in a hospital bed telling a visitor that his pelvis and upper legs were snapped and crushed in a plane accident, that it was the will of God and pre-ordained, and that living and coming out of a coma was a blessing (we see blood on the bandages up and down his leg and several metal pins running completely through his leg with blood seeping at the entry points). A man in an elevator wears a Band Aid on his forehead, from where blood begins to leak and he holds a handkerchief to his nostril and sniffs after being told that it is bleeding. We see some blood on a man's forehead and a few bloody streaks on a toilet seat, where he presumably had fallen and bumped his head.
 A pilot awakens from unconsciousness and we see through his bloodshot eyes very blurry shapes of people; safety board officials in his hospital room tell him that six people died in the mishap and we hear that the pilot has a bruised eye (bandaged), sprained knee (in a brace) and torn wrist ligaments (wrist in a brace); he walks with a cane for a few days and seems to heal quickly.
 A woman argues twice with her landlord and the second time he raises a baseball bat to strike her until another man sees the fracas, races into the apartment and punches the landlord, who falls to the floor (there's no blood). A pilot asks his girlfriend to fly with him in a small aircraft and she refuses because he is not cleared to fly; they argue and she leaves the next morning after writing a goodbye note that he finds, and throws a whiskey bottle against a wall, smashing it. A man with a shotgun in his hand answers a knock on his door, puts down the gun as he recognizes the caller, the two men argue about the causes of an airliner crash, they join a third man in an aircraft hangar where the wreckage of the plane is being examined for malfunctioning parts and all three men argue.
 A man argues in several scenes with his two legal advisors about a safety hearing; during one argument, one attorney loses control, curses and calls the first man several names. A man and a woman argue about a safety hearing and his drinking habits (please see the Substance Use category for more details). A man argues on the phone loudly with his ex-wife about child support. A man argues with his ex-wife and his teenage son, who shouts and yells at him to leave; the man embraces his son and the son shouts more loudly, pushes him away and the man leaves. During a safety hearing, a man jumps up and shouts, "I object!"; the panel moderator replies that this is not a court trial and the man shouts more loudly that he objects anyway and the scene ends.
 A cancer patient in a hospital walks into a stairwell with a wheeled stand that carries three IV bags connected to his arms; pale and facially bruised, he tells two other patients that he received cancer from God and might as well smoke as he borrows cigarettes saying that he will pass them out in the basement cancer ward and says, "The basement is where they keep cancer people." A man tells a pilot not to be seen drinking alcohol anywhere and not to purchase any in a store. A man says that he was so drunk once that he had vomitus all over his chest and abdomen and was wearing part of his girlfriend's clothing.
 A prisoner in a prison lounge is shown with two arms full of gang tattoos and other designs. We see homemade tattoo designs inked on several of a woman's fingers, her wrist and shoulder.
 A pilot trips when he steps onto the gangway of an airplane (please see the Substance Use category for more details) and in the cockpit, he turns the controls over to the co-pilot and sleeps in the pilot's chair, scaring the co-pilot and a flight attendant. Twice, a pilot wakes up from nightmares about a recent plane crash.
 We see a church and flowers around the portrait of a female flight attendant who died in a plane crash at a funeral.

PROFANITY 10 - About 50 F-words and its derivatives, 15 scatological terms, 7 anatomical terms, 7 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, insane, stupid, liar, drunk, arrogant, scumbag, tough guy, C-Lo, Nurse Ratchet), stereotypical references to commercial pilots, airline attendants, Southern Christians, African-Americans, rednecks, alcoholics, addicts, drug pushers, prisoners, corporate CEOs, cancer patients, 5 religious profanities, 12 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man and a woman in a morning bedroom scene (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details) smoke a marijuana cigarette and the man smokes a tobacco cigarette and snorts a line of cocaine, a man's drug dealer brings him items to satisfy his addictions while in the hospital (cocaine, vodka, Red Bull energy drink, cigarettes and pornographic magazines), a woman visits the backstage of a play production where she asks a man for drugs and he gives her a small amount of a new smoking-only substance along with a small bag of cocaine powder, after a night of drinking a man is given four lines of cocaine (to counteract the alcohol) and he snorts three while his drug dealer snorts the fourth, a drug dealer gives a man a cigarette laced with cocaine (a "cocoa puff") to smoke, a man's nose begins to bleed a little from the cocaine he ingested and he wipes it with a handkerchief (we see no blood), a woman smokes marijuana and shoots up two other drugs that cause her to gasp and collapse (we see her dilated pupils and we see the needle injected into the hollow of her elbow that is drawing a lot of blood), and a man dumps Hydrocodone and marijuana down a toilet. A man finds a partially full beer bottle from the night before and drinks it, we see empty liquor bottles on a window ledge and coffee table, we hear that a woman is an alcoholic who went through rehab twice, a pilot in charge of a flight spikes orange juice with vodka and drinks while he is flying, a man spikes orange juice with vodka and drinks several times while driving, a man drinks alcohol from a bottle (we see 10 empty beer bottles on the coffee table near him) and when his girlfriend enters the room and he tries to speak he can only manage to grunt and slur his words until he falls into the coffee table and knocking the bottles off (he falls asleep on the floor), a man in a hotel room finds dozens of bottles of alcohol in an adjoining room's refrigerator and opens one (he is found passed out on the bathroom floor in the morning and his room is trashed), a man drinks beer as he drives and he drinks from a ˝-gallon bottle of rum before he starts the car's engine, several scenes feature a drug dealer drinking beer or whiskey while driving a car, a man goes to a market and buys replacements for all the alcohol he previously dumped, a man pours liquor including a few dozen tall bottles of hard liquor and brandy and beer down the drain or toilet, a man sits alone at a bar and orders an orange juice and a double shot of vodka on the side (we see him drink only the vodka), we see people at a bar holding drinks and we do not see them drinking, we see a cartoon character on a TV drink a strange liquid that makes him gasps and pass out face down, a pilot in a safety hearing states that he has been drinking heavily for years and that he is an alcoholic, we see a man speaking to inmates in prison about alcoholism and admitting that he received a sentence of 5 years for using alcohol while flying a commercial airliner, we see greeting cards congratulating a man in prison for one year of sobriety, a toxicology report read aloud by an attorney states that a pilot had a blood alcohol level of 0.24 at an airliner crash site (well beyond the legal limit) and that a flight attendant had a 0.17 blood alcohol level (also above the limit), a woman invites a man to an AA meeting and he stays for a few minutes but then leaves quickly, we hear that alcoholics lie all the time and lie more when they use alcohol, a man walks into a bar and walks out again, and an alcoholic shouts to his girlfriend several times in sequence that "I choose to drink!" Dozens of scenes feature men and men smoking cigarettes at home, on the street, in hotel bars, in cars and in meetings, a man receives a carton of cigarettes as a gift while he is hospitalized and he meets two other patients in a stairwell where he shares cigarettes, and we see a woman wearing pajamas in a hospital stairwell while smoking a cigarette.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Alcoholism, drug abuse, honesty, airline safety, death, responsibility, making amends, family, conflict, reconciliation.

MESSAGE - Alcoholics and drug addicts need professional help and family support.

Special Keywords: S7 - V6 - P10 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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