People are pretty upset about the big twist in “Passengers” — and they have a point
We’ve got some bad news, fam.
Pretty much everyone with a pulse has been excited about Passengers, but early reviews are in and according to many publications, not only is the Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt starrer not what we expected, it’s also borderline creepy. And arguably sexist.
**Spoiler warning: if you haven’t watched Passengers yet, turn back now!**
Like, you know how the previews make it seem like J. Law and Pratt wake up in their futuristic sleep pods together, roughly a century before their spaceship reaches its destination, and therefore have to spend the rest of their lives together in wait? But then they fall in love, so it’s all good?
Well, that’s not how it all goes down. Not even remotely.
Instead, Pratt’s character Jim wakes up solo. He gets bored after awhile, and therefore decides to do something holy crap not okay in waking up J. Law’s character, Aurora — literally, a sleeping beauty — to be his companion. Like, he sees a pretty woman peacefully asleep, then wakes her up to doom her to an entire lifetime of solitude by his side.
This is the protagonist of the movie. A movie that is ostensibly a love story, but actually sounds a whole lot more like a movie about Stockholm Syndrome.
Because Jim waking up Aurora is a huge deal — in doing so, he’s condemning her to a life she does not want, instantly making him her “captor,” as EW notes, and putting their relationship on unequal ground. Additionally, by keeping his role in her situation a secret, Jim is seriously towing lines of consent once they enter into a sexual relationship.
Interestingly enough, Passengers screenwriter Jon Spaihts told UPROXX that he knew Jim’s decision was unforgivable … which is why Pratt was cast in the role:
"This is a story, in part, about a good man who does an indefensible thing but remains a protagonist. So of course we want everybody to keep loving him. And I think the two challenges we had to meet to make that work were, one, in casting to find a deeply relatable and lovable actor to play that part, to give us as much of a head start as possible.
Unfortunately, critics are saying that the head start does nothing to help the movie — because of the “icky questions of consent” involved in the twist, but for other reasons, as well. Like J. Law’s character being a helpless damsel in distress. EW’s review states:
"She’s way too good of an actress to be told to look scared and shout lines like 'What does that mean?!' when technical terms are thrown around, and 'Jim, how do we fix this?!' while Pratt tries to win her back with his can-do heroism. She’s stuck in what essentially amounts to a risable two-hour exhibit of sci-fi Stockholm Syndrome."
Sigh. So much for seeing J. Law kick butt in space.
Additionally, Indiewire points out that the movie could have been an interesting exploration into the nature of consent, but instead “refuses to really wrestle with the compelling questions at its core.” Instead, it relies on Pratt and J. Law’s innate charm to keep the engine running — turning the film into a traditional rom-com — but “aiming to keep things light doesn’t dilute any of its issues, it just dumbs down the entire outing.”
Obviously, we LOVE the very talented Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, so we’re let down that we’re reading such critical reviews about their long-awaited movie together. But if the movie’s script is problematic in ways that seem sexist, we have to question: Why? Why are movies that portray women in outdated, sexist ways still being made? Why are stories about women whose agencies are taken away from them being written?
Rather than bashing the movie, we want to pose the question: Why did this script happen in the first place? Because this is of course, part of a great issue.