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(2005), PG-13 [PG-13*] (1hr 30min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
September 24, 2005
65 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2005), PG-13 [PG-13*] -- PG-13 ... barely

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Touchstone Pictures, Imagine Entertainment
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): Robert Schwentke
Producer(s): Robert DiNozzi, Brian Grazer, Charles J.D. Schlisse
Written by: Peter A. Dowling, Billy Ray
Cinematography/Camera: Florian Ballhaus
Music: James Horner
Film Editing: Thom Noble
Casting: Deborah Aquila, Mary Tricia Wood, Tricia Woods
Production Design: Alec Hammond Art Direction: Kevin Ishioka, Sebastian T. Krawinkel
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Because of the amount of violence and foul language in Flight Plan, including God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive, this film earned a score befitting its PG-13 MPAA rating. But just barely. The final score of 65 is just two points below the upper threshold of the scoring range for PG-13 movies (55 to 67 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database, just three points under the bottom of the scoring range for PG movies (68 to 86 out of 100).

After the death of her husband, David Pratt (John Benjamin Hickey) in Berlin, Kyle (Jodie Foster) and their 6 year old daughter, Julia (Marlene Lawston) hop aboard a jumbo jet for New York. The jet is jumbo in every sense of the word. Two decks. Nine lavatories. Lounges. And more.

Kyle and Julia arrive on board before all others and seat themselves in row 26. Julia is in seat A, next to the window. Kyle's seat is B and C is unoccupied. There, Julia opens a little to her mother about her fears and depression about her father's death. Kyle ambiguously explains that Julia's father will meet them in New York.

Julia speaks of love for her father and draws a heart in the mist on the plane window. The heart Julia drew becomes evidence later in the show, evidence for Kyle. Though little Julie knew her father died, little did she know that her father lie in a casket under her feet in the cargo hold of the belly of the plane.

Soon, in a moment of submission, Kyle gives in to sleep with Julia sleeping beside her. With her teddy bear.

Torment and consuming fear quickly wash over Kyle when she wakes to discover Julia is no longer in her seat. In a performance befitting the high wattage talent of Foster, Kyle begins an excursion of exponentially increasing fret for her missing daughter. After searching the passenger area, both decks, in spite of the arguments of the crew Kyle demands to see the Captain (Sean Bean - Don't Say a Word, The Island, National Treasure).

Convincing the Captain by quoting regulation -- Kyle is a propulsion engineer who built the plane and knows its layout -- a search by the crew of all seats, bins and lavatories of all decks ensues. But no Julia is found. Kyle is told repeatedly that none of the crew remember Julia ever coming on board.

Not willing to give up and knowing the plane layout better than the crew, Kyle demands a search of any space a 6 year old child could fit, even the cargo hold and avionics. Submitting to Kyle's maternal fire, the Captain orders such a search to augment the initial search. Again, nothing of Julie is found. Here, the writers insert one of the first indications of the plot secrets. Two crew members were portrayed as having some sort of personal interest in each other during the search of the secluded avionics area, suggesting an incomplete search in that area. An intentional incomplete search.

If Julia's boarding pass ever existed, it is missing. The manifest lists no 6 year old Julia as a passenger. Seat 26 A is listed as unoccupied. Suspicions of Kyle suffering hysterical delusion under the pressure of her husband's death and the future she must now face become solid: suspicions that she refused to accept Julia was dead and manufactured the situation to ease her pain if only for a short while.

Now, as far as the crew is concerned, there is no Julia. In an effort to calm Kyle's delusion and anxiety, the Captain contacted the funeral director of the funeral home that brought David's body to the plane. The funeral director told the Captain that little Julia died with her father in the fall.

Two stand-out flight attendants, Fiona (Erika Christensen) and Stephanie (Kate Beaham) do their best to calm the growing hysteria Kyle suffers whose ferocity is not matched by military assault warriors. Soon, Kyle's hysteria becomes so disruptive to the flight of 425 passengers that the air marshal, Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) becomes a fulltime attachment to Kyle.

Plot and script detail in making little Julia disappear, or appear to have never been present, was fine-tuned as if anticipating the most grueling questions of the viewer. Attention to prop detail was intricate. The viewer is given a thorough tour of the inner workings of the huge plane. An example of the complexity of the attention to plot detail was having Foster's character ask that if Julia was killed with her father where was her casket? Why was it not with her father's casket since both were processed at the same funeral home?

One over-the-top item in the plot was that the airline was able to deposit $50,000,000 in a foreign bank in just a few minutes.

The fingers of the plot are far reaching. This is not a check-your-brain-at-the-door film. Nor is it one to feel family-safe about. Violence and the inherent criminal nature of it, portrayed on a personal level on so many levels, is invasive. Language, though considerably less severe than most PG-13 films, is not gracious [Prov. 22:11].

Sexually immoral behaviors are limited to innuendo and rude gazing with suggestive comments. [Eph. 5:4] Drugs and/or alcohol are limited to showing booze in the aircraft lounge and the implied drugging of little Julia to facilitate her abduction.

God is offended by the performers who use His name in vain. [Deut. 5:11] There is one portrayal of murder which was initially presented as a suicide. [Exod. 20:13]

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal the details of the content of this film you might find applicable to your concerns regarding its fitness for your family.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]
  • Exod. 20:13 You shall not murder. [Suicide is murder of the self.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among you], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ["Offend": skandalizo - to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary/
    Commentary section.

    Flight Plan (2005) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • agitated aggression, repeatedly
  • graphic injury
  • sabotaging aircraft operations in-flight
  • terror in-flight
  • physical assault based on nationality
  • property vandalism
  • abduction of little girl
  • planting bomb on aircraft in-flight
  • planning murder
  • extortion with child as leverage
  • defensive assault
  • gunfire to kill, repeatedly
  • pursuit to kill
  • stalking terror
  • defensive assault
  • admission of murder
  • firearms for offensive
  • defensive killing by explosion resulting in massive property damage

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • framing for terrorism based on nationality
  • eight uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • children bickering, ignoring parents commands
  • condemnation based on nationality
  • lying to implicate

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • rude gaze
  • rude innuendo
  • additional innuendo

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze
  • implied drugging of child to facilitate abduction

    Offense to God (O)
  • one use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and four without

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder victim

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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