Passengers (Morten Tyldum) 2016 *** 12/31/2016

A science fiction romance starring Chris Pratt (who is at his most compelling here) and Jennifer Lawrence (who despite dealing with a hackily written character, Aurora Lane, shows once again her wonderful access to emotion that comes through as strong and real).  Briefly, Jim (Pratt) is woken from hibernation 90 years early on a 120 year colonization trip from Earth.  He tries everything to go into hibernation again, and failing that, to stay happy.  His only human contact is a simulation of one, an android bartender in red tails played note perfect by Michael Sheen.  After almost walking out into space (the thrilling space vistas up on the big screen are beautiful alone) without a suit, he sees another passenger (Lawrence) in her hibernation pod.  This gives way to the most interesting part of the movie, when Jim has to decide whether or not to open her pod and relieve his terrible loneliness, but also condemn her to 89 long years in transit.  Lawrence Fishburne as Gus, an officer woken later by a malfunctioning ship (predictably but compellingly saved in a dramatic fashion) sums up this condition well: “When a man is drowning, he takes someone down with him.  Doesn’t make it right, but he’s drowning.”

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