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Passengers title card

Year - 2008
Studio - Tristar Pictures
Stars - Anne Hathaway, Patrick Wilson, David Morse, Andre Braugher, Clea DuVall, Diane Wiest
Director - Rodrigo Garcia
Writing Credits - Ronnie Christensen
Music - Edward Shearmur


Claire (Anne Hathaway) is a grief counselor assigned by her boss Perry (Andre Braugher) to work with the few survivors of a passenger plane crash. One of the survivors, Eric (Patrick Wilson) acts as if he is unaffected by the horrific event, and even attempts to court Claire. But he is actually experiencing terrible nightmares about the crash and, when awake, sees a strange dog barking and staring at him, as well as a man watching from below his window.

Claire conducts group therapy sessions with the other survivors who all seem to have differing memories of the crash. One believes he saw an engine fire from his window in the cabin, but the others disagree. Claire confronts Arkin (David Morse), a representative of the airline, who insists that it was pilot error, not a mechanical malfunction, and menacingly warns her not to interfere. In the meantime, some members of her therapy group stop coming to the sessions, leading Claire to believe that they have gone missing. Her fears are reinforced by strange people who seem to be watching her and the others from a distance.

Passengers poster

At her apartment, Claire is frequently visited by a neighbor, Toni (Diane Wiest), who continues to offer her unsolicited advice. Claire wants to restore a relationship with her sister Emma, but is unsuccessful in contacting her at her home or by phone.

Claire continues to visit Eric and finds herself falling in love with him. She later confesses to her supervisor that she has "crossed the line" in her professional relationship with him.

She is visited by Arkin who emotionally tells her that no one survived the crash, and that the pilot was not even at the controls when the engine fire started.

Arkin's revelation causes Claire to begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together. She now remembers that she was a passenger on the flight, in the seat next to Eric. They had started a pleasant conversation when she saw the engine fire through the cabin window. Her other therapy "patients" were also passengers, and Arkin was the pilot, who had briefly left the cockpit to have a playful chat with an stewardess. As the fiery, doomed airplane fell from the sky, Eric held her and tried to assure her that they would be OK.

With the realization that she and the others are ghosts in limbo, she asks Eric why he didn't tell her. He responds that she had to discover it for herself, and that previously departed souls were there to assist them in moving on. In Eric's case it was his father and his dog from childhood. For Claire, it was Toni, who she now remembered as her aunt, and Perry, who had been an influential teacher.

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Passengers is profiled in Lyn and Tom Davis Genelli's book Death at the Movies.