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Generally favorable reviews- based on 309 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 309

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  1. Nov 2, 2012
    As the movie begins you think you know where it is headed, but you (the audience member ) only really have a general sense of direction and you quickly learn that this screen play and director Robert Zemeckis have a much more involved journey planned. This film exfoliates like an onion to reveal much more of a surprise than you could have anticipated. For once the trailer isn't the best part and it doesn't reveal "all of the good parts." There are a number of great performances by both known veteran actors like Denzel Washington and a bunch of lesser known actors as well. This movie is packed with twist for certain, but they aren't the kind of supernatural twist that are typically overloaded with a generous helping of hyperbole, not this movie is packed with realistic moments that people will be able to identify with. There will most certainly be some Oscar nominations from this film, including perhaps best screen play, best supporting actor and may be best director. Go see this film! Expand
  2. Nov 11, 2012
    This movie is allot better than the trailer. I love the story, big ass's, blow, and booze. GO watch it and you will not be disappointed. Denzel kicks ass.
  3. Nov 4, 2012
    Flight... Ok, the movie is very interesting, have a trama that sounds interesting, the screenplay is really awesome, and the performance of Washington is really amazing. The problem with Flight, is that have some boring moments. But the movie is really fantastic.
  4. Nov 7, 2012
    Flight is truly something to marvel. Denzel Washington is a hero here, not because his character in the movie landed a plane and was called a hero, but because his performance was a true act of heroism. Bravo.
  5. Dec 15, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is a brilliant movie. I have read many good reviews by my fellow moviegoers so I won't share the thousands of reasons why this film is great but the kicker for me was Whip's scene while offering testimony at the decisive NTSB hearing. Most of us have a sense of how corporate and political machines work and we expect cover-ups as an almost routine way of doing business. Here's the spoiler: instead of taking the route laid out for him by his very bright lawyer, Whip graduates from villein to hero by telling them the unvarnished truth, for which he pays a very steep price but also finds a very a credible redemption. Denzel Washington, a screen idol of heroic proportions, strips away this facade to reveal a character with huge, even fatal flaws in a fearless performance. The work of John Gatins and Robert Zemeckis in this film is in the realm of pure genius. If you want to learn something about yourself and a good deal more about the human condition, don't miss this film. Expand
  6. Feb 23, 2013
    Denzel is hitting on all cylinders in this drama. The believability of Denzel's character is an A. The moral pitfalls that collide here will make many viewers question their own lives.
  7. Jan 31, 2013
    Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, John Goodman, Don Cheadle
    Directed by Robert Zemeckis

    ‘Flight’ is the pure embodiment of inner conflict drama. It is the story of Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), a commercial airline pilot who pulls off an amazing display of aerial talent and courage to save the lives of 96 passengers when his plane malfunctions at 30,000 ft. A
    pure gold, heart pumping, adrenaline fuelled plot…and all this happens in the first 5 mins of the film. It’s what happens next that makes this one of 2012′s best films.

    We are introduced to Whip as he lies naked, hungover, surrounded by bottles of alcohol, smoking butts (both the cigarette and the female type )…clearly leftovers of the heavy night prior. A call from his ex-wife raises him from his inebriated state and an argument over money and child welfare ensues. He is flying on an airplane today, back to Atlanta…a short business trip perhaps? A quick line of cocaine (as you do…) and he is out the door…only to shock the viewer with his attire…turns out he is a pilot! It’s at this point you really start to question this man’s integrity…surely he is a buffoon who is looking to get himself fired before he even thinks of piloting that plane!? But, sure enough, he calmly and seemingly unnoticeably takes 102 souls into his hands and departs…during a raging thunderstorm mind you.

    It is at this point we are introduced to Nicole (Kelly Reilly), a desperate and tragic young woman, in search of her next fix. A junkie who, morales notwithstanding, will do anything within reason for her next ‘absence from reality’ moment…heroin being her knight in shining armour. Terrifically portrayed by Reilly, this young heroine (sorry couldn’t resist) seems destined to collide with Whip.

    Without giving too much away, Whip saves the day. Drunk and coked out of his head he manages to pull off the most amazing of aerial manoeuvres, making you really think how much is possible these days with modern aircraft. But, as smooth talking lawyer Hugh Lang (Cheadle) says it so bluntly, “Death demands responsibility”. Being the captain of a plane where there were 6 casualties and a NTSB investigation well underway, Whitaker is faced with the scenario…will his bravery overshadow the evidence of his drug use? Despite saving 96 lives, will he face criminal charges and possible imprisonment.

    In an Oscar worthy performance, Denzel’s portrayal of this morally ambivalent character both shocks and amazes you. His constant battle with alcoholism and drug use keeps the viewer on a knifes edge over the characters like-ability during the whole film. Can he stay sober long enough to save his own hide? Are there really pilots like this out there? Have they flown me somewhere? It’s pure magnetic repulsion.

    An engrossing film from start to finish, I’d like to think ‘Flight’ looks into the inner demons of even the most respected people in todays society. As carriers of safety, pilots are often seen as untouchable voices you hear only over a loudspeaker, trained professionals with your destination and wellbeing solely in mind. It is Washington’s portrayal of an unstable, in control but out of control pilot, exuding the most fallible of human qualities that makes ‘Flight’ so brilliant.

    JD ‘Wannabe film critic’ score 9/10

    My favourite part While the special effects of the plane crash are stunning and Washington’s gutsy soul searching portrayal of Whip is brilliant, it’s John Goodman’s outrageous cameo of Whip’s friend, Dr. Feelgood that had me sold from the get-go. Fans of ‘Fallen’ (1998) will rejoice in the use of The Rolling Stone’s ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ in each of his appearances…Banana Boat anyone?
  8. Nov 6, 2012
    Didn't expect this movie to be to me outstanding. Some good funny humor. But kept it serious. Great story telling. Great direction. Great acting. Almost a three hour movie. But very much worth the watch.
  9. Mar 2, 2013
    Robert Zemeckis is back to his live action finest with Flight, a film that deconstructs the life of a hero until there is nothing left. Sounds depressing? It kinda is, but like most Zemeckis movies its full of heart. The film tells the story of Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), a pilot who saves countless lives when his plane loses control. However when he hits the ground his life is upended by the airlines investigation into the crash and his life, which threatens to reveal his alcoholism. While the film does feel opinionated and at times a little naive (the ending is exceptionally so) it is also one of the most engrossing studies of alcoholism ever devoted to film. Denzel Washington is captivating as Whip, a man like most alcoholics in denial. His commitment to the role is astonishing and there is not a moment in the film you don't truly believe this character is real, that he would exist in a real world. There isn't a moment in this film where you don't think Denzel deserves all the adulation he has received for this role, its by far his best performance to date. In fact I may be offending Daniel Day Lewis fans when I say that Denzel was by far the more deserving nominee at this years Oscars. Even from the beginning of the film you are captivated by not just the opening sequences but by this character because not only is he broken but hes also charismatic and dare I say it, charming. However the film also soars in its technical aspects as well as the film starts with a pure adrenaline shot as it shows you in full the crash, every little detail. The editing is fantastic but the direction by Zemeckis is what makes it exhilarating. His attention to detail makes the crash tense and genuinely terrifying. The films only action sequence is crafted lovingly and with great skill gripping you to your seat so you just have to watch the rest even if the film settles into a much more serious area of discussion for the remainder. Despite the fact he is supported by some great actors like Don Cheadle and John Goodman, this is Washington's film and Zemeckis shows him at his best. The only downside is the film finds the need to inject some Forrest Gump schmaltz into the film as it draws to a close when it really isn't necessary at all but its to be expected from Zemeckis and it only annoys in the moment as the rest of the film is so good you can't help but remember the many good things over the solitary mistake Expand
  10. Jul 29, 2013
    Flight masters the most sincere and meaningful way to portray a man who we want to feel sympathetic towards, but find it difficult to so, as his reckless and arrogant behaviour plagues a tragic accident that he was directly involved with. The man in question is Whip Whitaker, an airline pilot, played by Denzel Washington, who gives an engrossing and driven performance as the damaged pilot, who saves many lives after a mechanical failure results in the plane he is piloting to nose dive towards the ground, but with death comes responsibility, and Whip must answer many questions as to the events of the crash, especially when he was drunk and high while flying the plane.
    The film kicks it into high gear right from the beginning, as we see Whip holding his confidence in the tightest of situations, the spectacular scenes involving the plane being upside down and the excellent cinematography within the plane create quite a frightening and realistic experience, but the power of Washington's performance excels beyond this, he seems like a man possessed when danger arises, nothing like the nervous and ashamed alcoholic we meet as the film progresses, something which he shares in common with Nicole (Kelly Reilly), a struggling drug user who comes into Whips life as he begins to feel the effects of a 'survivor guilt' scenario, something which turns him back to the bottle.
    As mentioned, the film is a character study above everything else, its difficult to feel any sort of feelings of despair for the man on the screen when he will seemingly throw it back. Don Cheadle plays the attorney who is attempting to remove the toxicology report from a hearing scheduled for Whip, but as Whip continues to struggle with his demons, he leaves very little reason for anyone to help him.
    Stellar performances make this film what it is, Washington goes above and beyond to portray a man who is truly shocked and saddened by what happened, even if it is proven not to be his fault, but he finds nobody there to turn to. John Goodman seeks out his funnier side again to play the dealer for Whip, giving some comic tone to the otherwise thrilling film. Where the film doesn't succeed is its final act, which seems typically paced to suit the needs of those seeking a moral ending, because this wasn't a moral film, it was driven by one man and his mission to destroy himself to try and forget, and while it can be argued this was the case for his eventual moral side kicking in, it just felt entirely out of tone.
    But that aside, the film perfects telling a troubled story with great detail with an equally powerful performance from Washington, showing a man who is conflicted about life but confident in what he is good at.
  11. Nov 16, 2012
    This is a brilliantly written, directed, and acted film. I do feel sorry for people who wanted a plane crash movie and didn't get it. This is a film of depth and moral complexity for which there are no easy answers. Zemeckis direection is flawless--there's a stunning photographic moment late that is not a special effect. Denzel Washington tops all his previous work, and John Goodman and Melissa Leo are huge in small roles. Expand
  12. Feb 5, 2013
    Wow....just Wow. This is the most meaningful, compelling movie I've seen in years. When I first saw the trailer of this movie, I thought what a silly premise for a movie. Little did I know, it would be a brilliant character study. I don't have many favorite movies, but this is definitely one of my new favorites I can add to that list. All the actors and actresses do a fantastic job. The director did a superb of the great facets of a movie is to feel like you are watching real life and not just a "movie". Most movies can't achieve that. But once in awhile, a movie comes along that achieves this accomplishment. This is one of those movies. One of those movies that hits you hard emotionally because of the realism it is able to provoke. Since nowadays movies are just a way to pass time and escape from life, I'm proud to see a movie that challenges our thoughts and feelings on important subjects once again. A movie that makes us look at ourselves and reflect on our own decisions and actions. I hope to continue to see movie studios put out more of these kinds of movies. Movies that will help us understand the complexities of life and ourselves and help us confront them. Expand
  13. Nov 3, 2012
    I think this is Denzel's best performance in the movie Flight. I think he way out performed the character in the movie Training day, which he won the Academy award for a outstanding performance. I think this movie teaches us all a lesson in the consequences of being an alcoholic and substance abuse is a major problem in this country. I think everyone should get the message the movie was trying to express. What really got to me is he had saved so many lives on the defective plane, but there was alcohol and cocaine in his system, but he landed safely on ground with the exception of a few lives The fact he saved so many lives on board the plane, and at the end of the movie he still got sent to prison, for his drug and alcohol abuse. This movie is very serious, but still have humorous parts to laugh at. I also think this is Don C's best performance for supporting, the leading character, Denzel, a still definitely handsome and tall man, who dose not definitely look nowhere in his fifties. Denzel will never give up doing the movies, I love the most. Bravo performance, bravo. Expand
  14. Dec 23, 2012
    Flight may not be liked by many but let me tell you why I like this film. Denzel Washington gives one of his best performances, he is the sole reason why I decided to watch this film in the first place and I don't regret it at all. The direction is satisfying enough to keep the viewers interested in the film i.e. the first 30 minutes of the film show the plane crash which is exceptional, I have never seen something like this before, it was too terrifying and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the sequence. After those 30 minutes, the 2 hour (almost) drama begins which passes by so quickly, you don't even realize (only if you are a fan of slow-paced drama films). And then, finally the ending, which is downright excellent, I pretty much hoped for an ending like this because without it, the film's message would not have been that clear. Washington's character Whip Whitaker finally accepts that he is a free man, he has no more lies to tell, he doesn't feel any burden or he doesn't have to carry all this throughout his remaining life.
    Whitaker is an unlikeable person, he is an alcoholic and he can't get enough of the booze and the cocaine but there comes a time when he realizes that lying about it would only make it worse since he's been lying about everything his whole life, not even his wife and his kid like him. Flight has an absolute message for every viewer: the message of acceptance, the message of "stop lying" and start telling what you really feel. What do you really want to say. Despite all these downsides, my sympathies were always with Whitaker because he really saved those people even when he was high and maybe that factor actually played its part by making him think of rolling the plane into an inverted position, who knows?
    A character-driven drama film with a phenomenal performance by Washington, strong supporting cast, great screenplay by John Gatins, and a wonderful direction by Robert Zemeckis who previously directed the two important films; an Academy award winning 1994 film Forrest Gump and a 2000 film Cast Away, both of which are excellent. Flight does not offer any action sequences or edgy moments after the plane crash but what it does offer is Washnigton's performance, the clever dialogues, and his characterization and depicts wonderfully how he's changed throughout the film. And it leaves you in a position where it's upto you that how do you want to think of his character, a hero or a criminal? A hero for saving 96 out of 102 people on the plane or a criminal for being so negligent and putting 102 people's lives at risk. You get to change your opinions about observing Whitaker's nature and his character throughout the story because of the things he do, his crazy drug addiction and finally, the decisions he make. This film may not be a strong Best Picture Oscar contender but it easily deserves a Best Actor nod for Washington's powerful performance.
  15. Nov 4, 2012
    This movie held my interest throughout. The opening action scene is realistic. Bits of comic relief are welcome. Denzel Washington's performance is solid and believable as expected, as are all the performances. Overall this movie was entertaining and made for a nice evening's escape.
  16. Nov 3, 2012
    Flight was very good. Denzel was outstanding at portraying this morally confused pilot. John Goodman's character was so in control and entertaining. Everyone on the screen were spot on to make this film terrific. It makes you think about the choices you make everyday!
  17. Nov 10, 2012
    This is one of the years best films. Not my favorite, but it keeps one interested the whole way through. Denzel Washington is at the top of his game. It is like he is not even acting, but actually is the role he portrays. I would be surprised if he wasn't nominated for best actor at the Academy Awards. Robert Zemekis has given us a film that is dramatic, sad, heart breaking, and terrifying. I would have liked to seen more scenes with certain supporting characters, however Washington's performance helps one ignore that slight problem due to his power on the screen. Flight definitely soars. Expand
  18. Nov 20, 2012
    All I can say is that this is a great movie that EVERYONE should see. It challenges drug dependency, alcoholism, the definition of heroism, and personal accountability/honor all in a short 2 hour span. This was a great investment of my time, attention, and money! GO SEE IT
  19. Feb 3, 2013
    Any film that contains a role for John Goodman immediately gains a +2 in my book. And it does not hurt that the director is Robert Zemeckis, who directed two of my favorite films Back to the Future and Castaway (oh yeah, and that not too shabby Forrest Gump). That does not mean everything he directs will be golden, but the concept of the film and Denzel on the cast certainly intrigued me more than your average film. And Mr. Washington once again proves that he could carry a weak script with his acting ability and this was by no means a weak script. It felt long only once or twice but that was worth the more than satisfying character interaction. And the plane crash that is the centerpiece of the film was full of intensity and high suspense. That proves just how great of director Zemeckis is even though you know the outcome of the scene, you still felt as if it were in total jeopardy. Brilliant film. Expand
  20. Jun 6, 2013
    This is no Robert Zemekis movie. This is something much more. Truly, this is a different direction that Zemekis has taken, but he without a doubt pulled it off. Flight is an engaging movie that soars in both acting and storytelling. But for sure, Denzel Washington's portrayal of Whip Whitaker is what helps make the movie so magnificent. Also, the movie had some amazing screenplay. John Gatins is a pure genius. I hope he keeps writing these awesome screenplays. One supporting character that struck me was John Goodman. The movie's that he's been lately are for sure putting him back on the radar. This is the comeback of John Goodman. I can't wait for him to bring back Sulley in "Monster's University." The only thing about this movie is that I wish it was nominated for best picture. It really deserved it! Overall, it's a breathtaking story that soars. Expand
  21. Apr 3, 2014
    While some may think Flight is just about a drunk, cocaine addict who has a drinking problem and confesses at the end, the film goes deeper than that. That is a very raw, unobserved way to put the storyline. While a narcissist might categorize the movie as a drug addiction film with drugs, beer, hooker and porn movies, I say, watch it again. Flight takes the tor of man who has addiction problem, and add drama, suspense, and a kick-ass plane crash sequence to top it, probably one of the best scenes involving a plane ever. Denzel puts on his usual rock star performance, and the movie just goes into "flight" from there! Expand
  22. Jul 23, 2014
    Flight is a cinematic masterpiece - it is emotionally captivating, a superb plot, and two oscar-worthy performances from its two oddly likeable leads.
  23. Jul 1, 2014
    Flight just might be one of the best dramas of 2012. Denzel Washington plays a pilot who was able to save many people in a plane failure by pulling an amazing stunt. The plane was consisted doomed along with everyone aboard due to a mechanical malfunction. Denzel’s character was able to gain enough control resulting in the safety of many of the passengers on board. The crash scenario the film portrays acts as only the driving point and set up for the following events. We soon find out the pilot may not be as heroic as the public views him, as information surfaces proving that the pilot was intoxicated. This leads to a very realistic series of events that builds tension and raises questions. Denzel Washington’s performance in Flight was spectacular and the way he unveiled his emotions was perfect. The cast was packed with excellent talent from John Goodman, Don Cheadle, and Bruce Greenwood all of whom played entertaining roles. The soundtrack was different than most dramas, but worked really well with the way it was edited together. My only major gripe with the film is the time taken to introduce characters that in the end didn’t really matter. Flight did an exceptional job of dealing with some heavy content, intense moments and heartfelt scenes. In the end, Flight soared. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Chris Hewitt (1)
    Jan 28, 2013
    A welcome return to live-action filmmaking for Zemeckis, who hasn't lost his knack for a brilliant shot or for extracting great performances. It may not exactly be a first-class experience throughout, but there's nothing wrong with premium economy.
  2. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Nov 7, 2012
    We get tired of watching Whip fail, and we're caught between dismayed pity and a longing to see him punished. Only a great actor could have pulled off this balancing act. [12 Nov. 2012, p.94]
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Nov 4, 2012
    It may not be frivolously engaging but it is compelling.