I haven’t seen Passengers. But I’ve seen a lot of pearl clutching posts about that AWFUL TWIST.
So, I gave in and read them.
Digression – many, many years ago I watched a made-for-TV movie starring Teri Garr [Intimate Strangers, 1986]. She played an army nurse who’d been taken as a POW and suffered horrible PTSD upon her return. The entire movie revolved around the slow reveal of what had happened to her. The reveal: She’d been raped one time by one of the guards. And, call me a cynic if you will, but I had kind of assumed that all along. It wasn’t a reveal, it was a given based on the way they’d characterized her captors. It was kind of like showing someone coming home after ten years in prison and then revealing that while they’d been in prison they’d occasionally been locked in small rooms. Not to say it’s not traumatizing. Just… you’re not surprised by that reveal.
Which brings me back to…
SECOND-HAND SPOILER WARNING
Apparently, Chris Pratt’s character and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters do not wake up at the same time on the ship’s 120 year journey to another planet. Pratt wakes up earlier, spends about a year alone, begins obsessing over Lawrence — still asleep — and then wakes her up so he won’t be alone.
Yes, I agree this is a bad thing. But I wasn’t surprised to hear it.
When news got out and people began to complain about it, Writer Jon Spaihts had this to say, “It’s not as if it’s an accidental oversight of the film, where we, through some cultural blindness, have failed to see the appalling nature of our hero’s actions. It is the subject of the film. [emphasis mine]”
Director Morten Tyldum added, “…I think that most of us, if we had the choice, would have done what Chris’s character do. We’re lying to ourselves if we’re saying that we won’t. And I think also that Jen’s character and her stance, the moment he walks out [of the ship] and may not come back, she understands that, knowing she will be alone on the ship. And she understands. She completely understands why he did that.”
I get that. I totally get what Spaihts and Tyldum are saying. They made a film about what a person would do in this horrible situation, gave us Lawrence to react to this situation, and then put her in a position to understand that she would have done the same. It’s a good story, exploring emotion, human nature and the need for companionship. But apparently, they didn’t communicate that story to their audience. Instead, they gave their audience a creepy stalker story (apparently).
It doesn’t really matter what story you intend to tell. What matters is the story you do tell.