WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Dr. Joe Darrow will have quite a story to tell his colleagues when he returns to duty in the Chicago Memorial Hospital emergency room. That is, if he ever goes back.

His tale starts off tragically, with a marital disagreement he won’t forget. Though he and his wife Emily (who is also a doctor) had once vowed to do anything necessary to help the most needy and teach their children to do the same, Joe refuses to go to Venezuela with her on a Red Cross mission. Maybe he’s too tied to his job; maybe he’s just adamant about not wanting her to go now that she’s expecting their first child. Tragically, his fears are validated. During an emergency evacuation from a remote village, the bus Emily is on is swept over the side of a ravine by a mudslide. The accident yields no survivors. Joe is devastated. To cope with the loss of his soul-mate, he throws himself into his work, pulling 24-hour shifts and shutting off his emotions. He’s snaps at his colleagues, and he’s beginning to make some questionable judgment calls in the line of duty. The hospital administrator (who seems to be acting more from contempt than compassion) strong-arms Joe into taking a leave of absence to deal with his loss.

Finally forced to face reality, Joe rejects the comfort of his friends and an acquaintance’s offer of free grief counseling. The reason why he and Emily had made such a great team is that they complemented each other perfectly—he was the "head;" she was the "heart." With her gone, he’s stuck with just his own cold rationalism. His neighbor, a no-nonsense law professor named Miriam, understands his penchant for dealing with "just the facts." Together, they process the physical reminders of Emily that seem to be almost omnipresent for him. But when Joe starts visiting Emily’s patients in the pediatric oncology ward, the reminders become much more than physical. With each near-death experience Joe witnesses, it becomes more clear that Emily is trying to contact him from beyond the grave. Young cancer patients emerge from comas with messages from her, beckoning him to come to where she is. Free from his hospital responsibilities, Joe sets out to find her. With each step of his journey, he comes closer to getting in touch with his deceased wife. And closer to a discovery that will alter the rest of his life.

positive content: Despite the argument that begins their fatal misadventure, Joe and Emily’s marriage is a loving, passionate and committed one. He calls her "my ultimate partner" and gives a big nod to the idea of spouses’ strengths complementing each other. (Why is it that when this kind of marriage shows up in a movie, one of the partners always dies within the first 15 minutes?) Even after his wife’s death, Joe says, "I need to live up to my promises to her." In context, this is particularly meaningful, because he’s talking about a promise that won’t exactly be enjoyable to keep.

Emily is willing to sacrifice comfort and safety for the sake of helping people in need. Whether children dying of cancer or poor villagers in Venezuela, Emily truly cares for those whom she serves. Later, it is evident that her efforts have made a permanent impact on many lives. In addition, Joe learns a lesson about keeping a balance in his work. Sure, the medical field requires level-headedness, but it also demands compassion.

spiritual content: The dead Emily uses patients who have had near-death experiences to communicate with Joe. Several of them describe meeting her in a tunnel, in a mist or in a rainbow. In recounting his experience "on the other side," one young cancer patient seemingly channels Emily again, speaking with words that aren’t his own.

As Joe tries to resolve these disturbing events, several possible explanations are given as to what the phenomena might mean. To give viewers an idea of where Joe stands at the beginning of his quest, a conversation with a suicidal patient is shown in which Joe says, "Let me tell you about that better place [you think] you’re going to—you better be d--n sure it’s there. . . . As crappy as this place is, it’s all there is." From this and other statements, it’s clear that Joe does not believe in any kind of life after death, unless it’s another life here on earth (A flashback shows a conversation in which he and Emily discuss reincarnation).

Joe’s buddies demonstrate a "works theology" when they speak of heaven and say "If anyone deserved to go there, it was Emily." Rational Miriam approaches the situation from a lawyer’s perspective. She believes "nothing is real without evidence" and chalks Joe’s strange encounters up to mind games played on him by his grief. Joe’s brother takes a similar naturalistic view, explaining the "tunnel" experience in terms of optical science (he’s an eye surgeon). The hospital administrator thinks Joe’s actions are due to irrationality and perhaps even psychiatric problems.

A nun who did research on near-death experiences has the most detailed explanation for what she thinks happens after death. After spending time in Emily’s cancer ward she has concluded, "In an age where no one believes in miracles anymore, I was witnessing miracles every day." Unfortunately, her religious background and language turn out to be just icons rather than connections to higher truth. She goes on to tell Joe that just as he became a doctor because he once imagined he could be one, so our determination that there is a spiritual world somehow makes it so. "If we can create this world with what we imagine, then why not the next? Belief gets us there." It is this faulty (and illogical) assessment that gives Joe the hope he needs to keep trying to contact Emily.

As a prompt for discussion, these varying viewpoints (all of which are commonly held today) are great material. As a source of truth, they’re dreadfully lacking. In an attempt to make a heartwarming statement about the power of faith, Dragonfly forgets that faith has to be a belief in what is true, not just belief for its own sake.

sexual content: Joe and Emily are shown embracing. He buries his head in her bosom and then begins to remove her camisole (this scene serves partly to reveal the birthmark on her shoulder (it resembles the dragonfly which comes to represent her in the film). In a playful conversation, Emily suggests that they’ll have to have sex enough in this life to make up for the possibility that they won’t be able to in future lives (when they are reincarnated as beasts of the field or birds of the air). As Miriam expresses empathy toward Joe, their conversation implies that she is a lesbian who has lost a long-time lover. Nothing explicit is shown or mentioned. Venezuelan natives are shown in tribal garb, with a few breasts exposed.

violent content: A bus careens over an embankment into a river. Bodies are shown floating downstream and people are shown trapped underwater. Emily’s pet parrot goes ballistic in the middle of the night, flying in Joe’s face and wreaking havoc on the kitchen. In the E.R., a deceased patient awaits the harvesting of organs. Multiple wounds appear on his body. Joe defies hospital orders to try to make contact with Emily and has to be forcibly detained. Venezuelan natives hold a man at bay with spears and arrows. While not violent or gory, a handful of scenes are abrupt and shocking and may scare viewers who don’t like to be surprised.

crude or profane language: About ten mild profanities and three misuses of the Lord’s name. Joe has a bad habit of calling the hospital administrator an a--hole.

drug and alcohol content: Joe and his friends go to a bar after work and drink beer. They also have wine with dinner. Joe has a beer at home.

conclusion: With appropriately paced action and some gorgeous aerial shots of Venezuelan waterfalls, Dragonfly’s production values are decent. It’s not The Sixth Sense or The Others, but minor plot gaps notwithstanding, it’s quite watchable. Actually, that there are enough recent films in this category to prompt a comparison is itself noteworthy. The proliferation of supernatural "figure-it-out" flicks (not to mention supernaturally obsessed TV shows like Crossing Over) underscores society’s fascination with the afterlife and "the other world." Unlike some of its horror-drenched counterparts, Dragonfly meets these inquiries by actually broaching the subject of heaven. But par for the course, it doesn’t leave viewers with any solid evidence about the nature of or road to such a place. This film gets credit for asking all the right questions, but deserves a swat for a smattering of foul language and for failing to produce the right answers.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Kevin Costner as Dr. Joe Darrow; Susanna Thompson as Dr. Emily Darrow; Kathy Bates as Miriam Belmont; Joe Morton as High Campbell; Robert Bailey Jr. as Jeffrey Reardon

Director

Tom Shadyac ( Evan AlmightyBruce AlmightyPatch Adams)

Distributor

Universal Pictures

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Lindy Keffer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!