Remember when a plane flew into the Hudson Bay? Remember all 155 passengers on board who miraculously survived the impact? Remember the pilot responsible for making the quick move that prevented this delay from becoming a disaster?
Now, seven and a half years after these events shook the world, the story of Captain Chesley Sullenberger is brought to the screen by director Clint Eastwood and actor Tom Hanks. Based on the autobiography, “Highest Duty,” Sully expresses how the passengers’ fear was vanquished by their pilot’s risky and controversial thinking in a fashion that will inspire dads and business professionals across the nation.
It begins with a nightmare by the infamous pilot of his airplane flying uncontrollably into the city, the sounds of the plane booming real enough to rattle you the right way. He wakes up to yet another news report of his catastrophic Flight 1549 landing from January 15, 2009. This reality is simply too overwhelming for him to handle, so much so, that he can’t even go jogging without facing a near-hit by a taxi cab. Neither he nor his family can escape from the reporters, talk shows, and high city court who won’t shut up about the controversy. It’s almost as if 911 is happening all over again, except consequentially by one of America’s own heroes.
He explains in flashback precisely why he allowed the landing in spite of claims that the left engine could still have been idling. It all follows a nonlinear storytelling structure similar to what Stanley Kubrick or Quentin Tarantino have popularized. Maybe this flashback structure wasn’t necessary in the telling of the story, or maybe it just wasn’t edited properly. But either way, it got frustratingly confusing as to where or when I was in time, especially when it returns me to a scene that if left off of a half hour earlier.
If you were to go ask anyone who was there on that day of the Hudson Bay landing, they would go on to say from backed up evidence that these events are true to what happened; but this retelling doesn’t feel quite true enough. Even right from the release of the first trailer, I knew that Tom Hanks wasn’t going to fit the part, particularly because he does not look the part at all. Basically all the makeup artists do to make him look authentic is spray-paint his hair white and glue a moustache onto his face, which looks completely unconvincing that he is representing the real flight hero. Then if you look everywhere else around him, there is an excessive amount of branding for New York’s culture. The words “New York” are everywhere within the overused wide-shots of the city, something that not even the fake-looking CGI planes can distract us from.
Yet I still wouldn’t say that it makes this a horrible viewing experience. Far from it, in fact. Sully is backed up with plenty of satisfactory performances by the whole cast, particularly Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight, Thank You for Smoking), who plays Captain Sullenberger’s first officer and best friend. There’s also Laura Linney (Mystic River, The Truman Show) who plays the captain’s stay-at-home wife. She’s not the most well-developed or memorable of characters, but her love for her husband still comes out satisfactorily well.
Yeah, that’s a good word to sum up this movie. It’s satisfactory. It’s certainly better than average, but not the best thing ever like I hoped it would. It’s just plain satisfactory as good, wholesome, inspirational entertainment. It’s not that bad for tributing a man who was so big he had an alcoholic beverage named after him (it’s made with a shot of Grey Goose Vodka and a splash of water, so feel free to make it at home!)
It’s also worth noting that the end credits feature some special guest appearances who will make this entire movie truly worth the trip.
Amidst the difficulties that Captain Sullenberger faces, he receives a timely fortune from a cookie that reads: “A delay is better than a disaster.”
It can be a difficult responsibility: doing a heroic duty that stirs up controversy. It can make you question, “What makes a hero a hero anyway?”
We all take the time to recognize the heroes of our society: firemen, police officers, and men and women of the armed forces, as well as teachers, parents, the plumber, you name it. But at the same time, we can be just as quick to judge these heroes: the police develop the reputation of hating on Blacks, firemen are criticized for not getting to a burning building quick enough, parents complain when a teacher fails their child on a test, no matter who or what, there’s always something to complain about. So imagine how degrading this expectation can be for somebody with autism.
Six-Word Lessons for Autism Friendly Workplaces, Lesson #73: Intense Focus Comes Naturally to Them.
When people typically think of somebody doing a heroic deed, somebody with ASD or some other developmental disorder typically is not the first thing to come to mind. But whenever somebody like this does step up to do something great, everyone recognizes it as a wonderful thing.
Just look at Temple Grandin: she revolutionized the animal husbandry industry with her ingenious engineering methods of herding cattle, and in turn gave hope to countless others who had no clue where to find it.
Another great example is in a post my father found about a team of autistic soldiers who are especially hired to track visual materials in the air under the Israeli Defense Force.
These skills that these autistic men and women were naturally born with have proven to be not just helpful but crucial to the protection of lives everywhere, in turn giving people lots of hope.
We should take time to acknowledge all types of heroes, whether on the autism spectrum or not. You wouldn’t push a kid with Down Syndrome in the mud while all your loved ones are watching, so why would you do the same to a nondisabled pizza deliverer who showed up five minutes behind schedule?
I think Chesley Sullenberger made the right move to save the people on Flight 1549 despite what the media tried to tell him. So if what you do helps spread joy and safety to all people and parties involved in your service, in spite of a few kinks in the road, you succeeded in your duty. There may still be people who will project your failure, and there may be times you’ll be treated badly, but keep remembering what’s most important in what you do, and you’ll surely win every time!
- Don’t let failure get you down. With whatever job you may hold, failure every now and then is a guarantee. This counts for you even if you have autism: you have to break a few eggs before you can make an omelet.
- If somebody performs a poor service for you, or does something that gets on your nerves, don’t be so quick to criticize them. This is an easy thing for people with autism to do. You don’t know where the other person comes from or how much experience they have, so don’t just suddenly jump to conclusions.
- For any parents out there who have children with autism: encourage them to help others in all that they do. Teach them that their works are not all about what they can do for themselves, but for what they can do to help others.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Guerrasio, Jason. Tom Hanks gives an Oscar-worthy performance in 'Sully'. Digital image. Business Insider. 7 Sept 2016. Web. <http://www.businessinsider.com/sully-review-tom-hanks-2016-9>.
Klobucher, Derek. VIDEO: SAP Is Hiring Hundreds of Autistic Workers. SAP Community Network, 24 May 2013. Web. <http://scn.sap.com/community/business-trends/blog/2013/05/24/video-sap-is-hiring-hundreds-of-autistic-workers>.
Sully. Warner Bros., Web. <http://www.sully-movie.com/#home>.
Truffaut-Wong, Olivia. How Accurate Is 'Sully'? The New Movie Sticks Close To The Captain's Story. Bustle. Hulu, 8 Sept 2016. Web. <http://www.bustle.com/articles/182938-how-accurate-is-sully-the-new-movie-sticks-close-to-the-captains-story>.