Jennifer Lawrence reflects on harsh Passengers criticism

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Last December's PASSENGERS with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt hoped to be the modern answer to TITANIC with a story that focused on two literally star-crossed lovers on journey of romance and survival. The movie made a fair amount at the box office, but was met with harsh reviews that labeled the movie as “creepy” and a “two-hour exhibit of sci-fi Stockholm Syndrome.”  Not nice words at all, and now that the movie has come and gone, Lawrence has decided to open up about the criticism, of which she can kind of see where the critics were coming from.

Lawrence recently sat down with Vogue and discussed many things, including the movie, the plot if which involves Pratt’s character waking up on a interstellar colony vessel to discover he is the only person awake on the entire ship. He eventually decides to wake up a woman (Lawrence) he has been swooning over, and the two begin to fall for each other. The plot device rubbed many people the wrong way, and Lawrence talked about how in hindsight that was an area where she should've looked deeper into:

I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t spot it. I thought the script was beautiful — it was this tainted, complicated love story. It definitely wasn’t a failure. I’m not embarrassed by it by any means. There was just stuff that I wished I’d looked into deeper before jumping on.

Not every critic disliked the angle, though, as our own JimmyO gave the movie a solid review (7/10) saying of Pratt’s character that the “fact that he acts as selfishly as he does, and still manages to earn sympathy is impressive. It’s a nice change of pace for the actor.” Fans didn’t seem to mind too much either, and though the movie posted far lesser numbers than the studio was hoping it still made $100 million domestically and $300 million globally. Still, the critical failure of the movie was a learning moment for some, and producer Neal Moritz reflected on the film much in the same light as Lawrence did during a podcast with Bill Simmons back in April:

That was a very valuable lesson to me…There was a weird thing that happened. We’d done numerous test screenings… that were very encouraging to us… everything was looking great. Ten days before that movie came out, the first review came out… the reviewer said that we were justifying date rape, and I was like, what? I thought back to all the screenings that we had and nobody had ever thought that, but it was weird. One guy said that and a lot of media picked up on that and it became the mantra that the film carried, and I thought it was a really unfair thing because I think it’s a beautiful film I couldn’t be more proud of.

Having seen the movie I can say that the trailer certainly misrepresented the story, selling it as the two waking up together only to find realize they are trapped together. Obviously that’s not the story, and I believe even the marketing department knew audiences would find a creepy Pratt staring at a sleeping Lawrence all too freaky. However, that angle is only one of the movie’s faults, as structure, tone and a misguided finale all contributed to it being an expensive-looking dud. But we live and we learn, and it seems the movie’s greatest feat was acting as a teachable moment in how not to set up a love story. At least buy the sleeping person dinner first.

Source: Vogue, The Bill Simmons Podcast

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