FLIGHT ~ A High And Mighty View Of Alcoholism

First, movies entertain

It’s true, we go to the movies to be entertained. We enjoy dramas, light hearted comedies, romantic comedies, science fiction, historical re-creations, horror, children’s fantasies, musicals, foreign films, mysteries and documentaries. Then there are days when we watch a film that weaves a story so cleverly we find ourselves pulled into the storyline, because truthfully the movie’s screenplay uses every day events that we all may or have experienced, at one time or another. When this happens we feel it in the audience. Suddenly we are sharing an experience with complete strangers, not unlike when we enter an arena, a store, a restaurant, a train, a cruise ship, and yes, an airplane.  We are boarding a flight, together.

The High and the Mighty FLIGHT “took off” November 2, 2012

Screenshot showing John Wayne from the film Th...
Screenshot showing John Wayne from the film The High and the Mighty. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1954 The High and the Mighty debuted, nominated for six Academy Awards it won for Best Music. It starred John Wayne and Robert Stack. It was based on the 1953 novel by Ernest J. Gann.  While The High and the Mighty took place almost exclusively aboard the airliner, the real story of FLIGHT is about the “high” and mighty pilot – Captain Whip Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington. If you have read any of the many reviews, then you know that Captain Whitaker is a functional alcoholic; and if you haven’t read the reviews, then you learn this fact from the opening scenes of the movie. 

No spoiler alert needed…

We are not offering a spoiler alert, as the purpose of this post is not to tell you the story of FLIGHT, but to talk briefly about the experience of viewing  FLIGHT in a theater filled with complete strangers. Everyone comes to a theater with their own “baggage” – inside that baggage is their age, gender, marital status, family status, education, profession, ethnicity, culture, health status…in other words, you bring yourself to a movie and your life experience to date will filter how you react to any movie storyline.

In the audience on Saturday there were many viewers: men, women, couples, young adults, senior citizens, college age students. We all knew we would be boarding a flight with Captain Whitaker…but few understood that we would be getting a crash course in the disease of addiction…particularly alcoholism. It became clear from audible reactions of audience members that some were familiar with the disease while many simply could not comprehend what it means to be an alcoholic.

FLIGHT trailer to wet your appetite…

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Should you choose to take this FLIGHT

If you enjoy going to the movies and you eventually see FLIGHT, we hope you will comment and let us know what you think.  How accurately did it tell its underlying story? 

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