Sully (2016): Brace for Emotional Impact


SULLY (2016)
Starring by: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart,
Laura Linney
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Based on: “Highest Duty”
by Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow
Duration: 96 minutes
Release date: September 9, 2016

On January 15, 2009, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles went for their flight as usual. It was US Airways Flight 1549 from LaGuardia Airport heading to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in an Airbus 320 aircraft. Within 3 minutes of taking off, something unexpected happened. They lost both engines due to bird strikes. Causing them to request for emergency landing and think quickly of where to land.

Communication with the air traffic controller was cut off and Sully as the Pilot in Command decided that it was best to do a water landing (ditching) on the Hudson River, instead of returning to LaGuardia or landing at Teterboro. Miraculously, the ditching was successful and everyone onboard survived. Sully was hailed a national hero, being covered by the media everywhere. However, he and Jeffrey had to follow a series of investigations by National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Data reports from ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) suggested that the left engine was still running. Thus, it was thought possible to return to LaGuardia or Teterboro with the aicraft undamaged by the end of the emergency landing. And if this could be proven true, Sully’s career as a pilot would come to a complete stop.


Are you often traveling by airplane? Are you a cabin crew?

If your answer to one of the questions above is yes, then you must watch “Sully”. As the promotional poster proudly mentioned, it is indeed based on the miraculous ditching procedure on Hudson River, New York seven years ago.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to see this movie when it was released as premiere a couple weeks ago. There were a lot of people queueing, eager to watch this movie as the trailer was seen very tense and promising. When I first saw the trailer, I thought to myself. Whoever making this trailer did take a huge risk, as the trailer shows a lot from the incident scenes. Normally, I would lose interests in watching a movie with a very revealing trailer like that. But that’s where I was wrong.

Indeed I still got to see the suspense from that popular trailer. But it didn’t stop me from having goosebumps upon watching the complete emergency all the crew were facing. I was feeling uneasy to watch Sully’s mental challenges, facing the emergency landing and hearing with the NTSB. Both were really tense and I felt as if I was there, participating in those events, watching with gasps in between my breaths as Sully was riding an emotional wreck train from being hailed a national hero to facing a possibility of losing his pilor career for some data reports that acted against his decision during emergency.

Maybe it’s because this movie was based on true story. True stories normally have a strong bond to the audience and bring an emotional impact that those watching can relate to their own lives. It could be because it was starring by Tom Hanks and the script was crafted in a way that makes people feel involved within the story. Or maybe it’s because I’m a flight attendant and I’m qualified for the same aircraft, Airbus 320, and I imagined what if I was on the same scenario. Would I make it alive?



Watching this movie makes me appreciate my job even more. I know that we are not trained for serving tea and coffee only, but there are a lot of people out there who still treat us no more than waiters or waitresses onboard. Not that being a waiter / waitress is a bad thing, but it is so much more than that. And upon flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet above, when emergency arises, you have nothing to rely on but the entire crew’s teamwork to create a successful emergency landing, be it on land or water.

Frequent flyers who often ignore the safety demo being played on entertainment system or demonstrated by the crew members… I really hope they watch this movie so they will realize that anything can happen anytime. Hopefully it will create their safety awareness and cooperation when an evacuation is needed. Well, we never know…

Sully is a must-watch. It is not the kind of movie that gives you a light entertainment, but leaves you thinking of how life could be taken away in seconds. And how important it is to believe in yourself and always have your family and closest ones supporting you, especially at times you need them the most.

Watch this movie and brace for an unexpected emotional impact!



*) Pictures credit: Warner Bros Pictures, Wikipedia,

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