Passengers Review

Passengers looked like an awesome movie from the trailer and the suspenseful theme music – so I was initially really keen to see it. But then lots of reviews were quite negative and painted a picture of a movie that was lacklustre at best.

It was therefore not on my list of movies to see this Summer. La La Land was at the top, Allied was up there too and then in the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten really keen to see Manchester By the Sea and Edge of Seventeen cause they’re both rated highly on IMDB.

However, we had some gold class tickets (the nice cinemas in Australia where you can order alcohol, meals etc) that we’d been given and Passengers was the only movie on at the time that we wanted to go! So we ended up at gold class watching Passengers.

It was average.

But I was expecting it so it wasn’t a shock and I kind of enjoyed it because it met my expectations. But that’s a blog for another day.

Today I want to make one point about Passengers. I think it provided an insightful moment that represents something very deep about modern relationships. At the centre of the movie is the issue that Jim wakes up Aurora and effectively murders her in the process. He decides for her which was never his decision to make. And therefore she wakes up with 90 years until they arrive at their destination which means she will die before she gets there, and there’s nothing they can do about it. So Jim effectively murders Aurora.

As I watched the script unfold I found it interesting how ok I was with Jim waking Aurora. He was in a tough situation no doubt having woken up against his will because of a malfunction, so his life had been ended by ‘fate’ if you will. And now he is destined to be alone until he dies … unless he wakes someone else. And he chooses Aurora.

Why does Jim’s perspective towards Aurora ring sort of true with relationships in 2017? What I mean, is that he rationalises what’s going on and the fact that Aurora would make his life complete and his life so much easier is enough for him to effectively murder her. Shouldn’t that concern us?

See, I think relationships, healthy relationships, are built on the opposite of what Jim does. The one saving grace of the movie is that poetically Jim has the opportunity to do the right thing when he gets to choose again a little later and chooses to potentially sacrifice his own life for Aurora and the 5,000 people on the ship. Then he chooses again to sacrifice his own good for her by encouraging her to get in the medical capsule and go back into hibernation and to leave him on his own.

Good on him.

My question is why it seemed so ok for him to do the selfish thing earlier? What does that say about our culture? Here’s my random grab at a deep thought out of a pop culture movie:

We do relationships based on what we can get out of them these days.

That right there is a recipe for disaster. Very simply, I think the best relationships – friendships, marriage, family – are built on the idea that two people put the other first. If two people in a relationship live thinking about the other person’s good above their own then it’s a truly unique and stunning thing to behold. It also means longevity I think.

And if you’re thinking ‘but what if the other person screws them over?!’ then I think that’s a rational thought. But it’s exactly the trust that acknowledges the potential of that thought and still goes ahead and pursues vulnerability and the good of the other person above themselves – that trust is what great relationships are built on.

If our culture goes around constantly assuming the worst and seeking to protect and guard ourselves from any potential hurt, then ironically we move towards broken relationships and the acres of hurt that comes from broken families, friendships and the like.

If Passengers achieved one thing, it made me purse my lips as I thought about relationships these days and how we are so willing to ‘wake someone else up’ if it suits us without prioritising their well-being.

Who’s your Aurora? What is it right now that you are choosing between ‘waking them up’ or ‘choosing their good over your own’? Join me and take a tiny step towards healthy relationships by choosing not to wake others up. Put them first and trust that if they do the same you can make something way more beautiful than the fictional love of Jim, Aurora and their big-ass-tree-in-a-ship.

Passengers – 6.5/10


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