Making the Grades
Confused -- that's what Sandra Bullocks' character is in the thriller, Premonition. On a Thursday afternoon, Linda Hanson, the young housewife and mother of two girls, finds out her husband (Julian McMahon) was killed the day before in a horrendous automobile accident. Numbly going through the motions of the evening, she finally falls asleep on the couch with their wedding picture grasped in her arms.
The next morning she wakes up in her bedroom to the sound of someone in the shower. It seems Jim isn't dead after all. The scenario isn't all that hard to believe -- most people have experienced at least one horrific nightmare that seems so incredibly real it's hard to shake off.
But for Linda, this nightmare continues. One morning, Jim's dead. The next morning, he's alive. One day, she's at his funeral. The next, she's visiting him at his office. She also begins to meet strangers who say they know her while familiar people swear they've never seen her before. Days come and go out of order and things begin to happen to her and her daughters (Shyann McClure, Courtney Taylor Burness) that she can't explain. Finally, seeking spiritual guidance from her family's priest (Jude Ciccolella), Linda realizes the eerie premonitions are meant as a warning.
For emotionally involved audiences, the movie is a grueling watch. It plays on our worst fears of losing a spouse, being forcefully separated from our children, or having to prevail over wrongful accusations. For plot-challenged viewers, the film demands a concentrated effort to follow what's happening in the jumbled timeline. All too slowly, details unfold as the events of one day explain what happened before it. (Still, don't spend a lot of time trying to work out the finer points, they never stack up as neatly at home as they did in the theater.)
Like all good suspense stories, the screenplay relies on an ominous musical score and overcast, rain-soaked scenes to propel the story along. Yet all the build up falls incredibly flat. Instead of a payoff, Premonition's quick twist and abrupt cut to the credits will more likely leave paying customers feeling shortchanged. So if you've had any bad feelings about spending money to see this film, you might want to heed them.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Premonition.
Did you spot the smoking scenes? At least two times, Linda is shown supposedly smoking but her hand is held just out of view. Why do you think the filmmakers chose to crop the hand? Why do you think cigarette use would be suggested but not totally shown?
How does the film play on viewers’ fears? What anxieties does it bring to the surface for Linda? Why does she worry about seemingly inconsequential details, like being able to reach the platter on the top shelf?
What challenges do Jim and Linda face in their marriage? How do the warnings influence the way Linda interacts with her husband? Do you believe the future is malleable or cast in stone?