Making the Grades
Donna (Gwyneth Paltrow) is dreaming of a highflying job with all the class and style that comes with such positions -- or at least that's what she assumes.
With a Nevada trailer park upbringing, nothing could appear more exciting than the prospect of becoming a flight attendant for an international airline. After seeing former flight attendant and now motivational speaker Sally West (Candice Bergen) on television plugging her new book, Donna is convinced the sky is the limit. Days later she lands her first job with a small regional airline specializing in flying "gamblers and drunks."
The excitement, along with near-illness anxiety of never being on a plane before, quickly wears thin, and Donna longs to turn in her short skintight uniform for something more prestigious. Hearing of a job fair for a major airline, she heads to San Francisco and applies for employment with Royal International Airlines. Her successful interview leads to training with Mr. Whitney (Mike Myers), a cross-eyed instructor who keeps a close tab on rules and regulations. She also meets her idol, Sally West, who takes the time to tell Donna she has what it takes to fly in the big birds.
With her confidence stoked and certain she's aced the final exam, Donna's dreams crash when her name is beside Cleveland, Ohio on the placement lists. She reluctantly accepts the job, but with help from Sally, she determines to get a second chance at writing the exam. Meanwhile, her heart tugs in a different direction after bumping into an old boyfriend.
Billed as a comedy, I was never too certain if this film determined to be farcical or fanciful. At one moment characters like Sally, with a huge walk-in closet done in bold turquoise, and Mr. Whitney, a competent trainer of flight attendants with no social skills, appear larger than life. Yet at other points the sentimental script, along with its improbable conclusion, yearns to say something serious about the importance of family versus career.
This positive message, along with strong lessons about career choice and honesty, create a film that may be appropriate for teens. But before you takeoff to the theater, be aware that a handful of mild and moderate profanities, an implied sexual relationship outside of marriage, and a brief portrayal of a stereotyped male homosexual mar these shining points.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about View from the Top.
Donna discovers that being a flight attendant isnt as glamorous as she thought. What are some other careers that appear to be attractive but may have some negative aspects?
Donnas friend is caught stealing small items from the company. Parents may want to discuss how stealing even insignificant things can cost you greatly in the future.
Home Video Viewing Alternatives
Here are some ideas for home video titles that are related to View from the Top.
Selena offers the true story of a young woman chasing her dreams. Gwyneth Paltrow starred in another farcical film with a surprising good message called Shallow Hal. (Unfortunately, the movie also contained a lot of sexual content).