So I know I’m late off the bat here and there have already been tons of reviews trashing Passengers, and opinion pieces on what’s wrong with it, but here I am, adding my voice to the chorus. I’d already seen some of my more politically outspoken facebook friends pledging to boycott it because of the subject matter, but I’m ashamed to say that the beautiful beautiful people (Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt) lured me in, I caved, and several weeks after its release I went. Spoilers ahead – here’s my review.
Passengers started off well for me. I bought into the concept and into this version of the future. Chris Pratt alone in a luxury spaceship was just the right mix of terrifying and wish-fulfillmenty. This went on for long enough, too, that I whispered to my date (knowing what was going to happen) if I were in his shoes, I’d probably wake someone else up, too. I was on side. I could see that, alone in the vacuum of space, someone could do something crazy.
But the problem is, Pratt’s character doesn’t do something crazy in a moment of desperation. And that’s where it lost me. He stares at Jennifer Lawrence’s character’s unconscious body for ages and plots to wake her up. He watches videos of her. He has several false starts, but he still decides to wake her. When they finally have sex, it is one of the most uncomfortable and unpleasant watches I’ve had. He has violated her by waking her early, and then he violates her again by lying to her.
Jennifer Lawrence is spectacular. The best part of the film is her anger, after this moment. Which is quickly dismissed when a crew member wakes and tells her people do crazy mad desperate stuff.
In the end, we are expected to accept their romance, and I couldn’t.
The film has failed to meet its expectations at he box office, and to be honest I can see why. It’s disappointing to see the issue of consent half-raised and then dismissed. Audiences aren’t going to take that any more, and films need to be better and smarter. It’s such a shame because in many ways the film was so promising. But ultimately I just couldn’t buy into the human side of it.