Come from Away Parent Guide
This is a joyful, life-affirming, inspiring story of the power of kindness, compassion and generosity.
Parent Movie Review
With the hijacking of four airplanes on 9/11, the Federal Aviation Administration faced a dilemma. No one knew how many more terrorists were airborne, preparing to turn more planes into flying bombs. The FAA took a desperate decision – it closed American airspace.
Thousands of airplanes were forced to land immediately at the nearest airport. Thirty-eight trans-Atlantic flights were diverted to Gander, a small town in the Canadian province of Newfoundland. When the planes landed, carrying 7,000 people, they almost doubled the local population. Knowing that they would soon be inundated with people who would need food, medicine, beds, showers, and phones, the citizens of Gander and neighboring communities banded together to make sure the “plane people” were fed, housed, and comforted. The overwhelming hospitality of the Newfoundlanders soon became the stuff of legend and was one of the few bright spots in the terrible days after 9/11.
Turned into a musical, this story is the basis of Come from Away, which was a smash hit on Broadway in 2017 and has now been filmed for streaming audiences. This production is a joyful, inspiring, life-affirming story and it comes to vibrant life, even on a television screen. Show creators Irene Sankoff and David Hein read hundreds of stories and interviewed scores of Newfoundlanders and “plane people” to develop the story: the play’s characters and incidents are all based on real events. That sense of authenticity runs through the entire production and gives it real heart.
Come from Away is also a remarkable display of acting virtuosity. The dozen cast members all play several roles, switching back and forth by changing hats or jackets or sweaters. One minute an actor is a passenger; then he’s a bus driver and then he’s President Bush. Or an actor is a gay man from Los Angeles before becoming a Muslim chef. Another performer might be a pilot and then a townsperson. Or a British businessman and an air traffic controller. The prop work is masterful and allows the character transitions to proceed seamlessly.
The music is also lively: melodic with a strong beat as befits any musical set on the Rock. Newfoundland has a vibrant musical tradition and that feeling of a “kitchen party” comes through strongly. The only negative issue that parents will note also comes through strongly is the province’s affinity for “screech” – a form of high proof rum – and other alcoholic beverages. Aside from relatively infrequent profanity, these are the only negative issues in the film.
On the flip side, the movie is bursting with positive messages. At the cusp of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the memories and images of that dark and terrible day. But this moving film reminds us that although a small number of evil people can do tremendous harm, there are greater numbers of people who want to help their fellow human beings. This is a tale of kindness, compassion, overwhelming generosity, and simple human decency. As children’s TV personality Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Come from Away allows us to celebrate those people who reach beyond themselves to heal the wounds of our world.Directed by Christopher Ashley. Starring Petrina Bromley, Jenn Colella, De'Lon Grant, Emily Walton. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release September 10, 2021. Updated February 24, 2022
Watch the trailer for Come from Away
Come from Away
Rating & Content Info
Why is Come from Away rated TV-14? Come from Away is rated TV-14 by the MPAA
Violence: There’s mention of a fistfight. Deaths occur off screen and are referred to in conversation. A terrorist attack is alluded to but never described.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss on a couple of occasions. A homosexual couple are main characters and one jokes about being a “sexy-tary”. Women raise their shirts and flash their bras. Someone tells a joke about adultery.
Profanity: There are ten terms of deity, two scatological curses, and two anatomical terms. A substitute for a sexual expletive is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Alcohol use is frequently mentioned and people are shown drinking moonshine. People frequently hold glasses and bottles of alcohol. Drunkenness is mentioned on several occasions and is treated comedically.
Page last updated February 24, 2022
Come from Away Parents' Guide
Do you remember 9/11? What sticks in your memory from that day? What do you think motivated the people of Gander and the surrounding communities? What would you do in their situation?
For information about the real people whose stories inspired the play, you can follow these links:
Ford’s Theatre: Meet the People Who Inspired the Characters of “Come From Away”
YouTube: The Story of Beverly Bass
This story dramatizes true events. For more information about the hospitality of the people of Gander, you can read these articles.
Wikipedia: Operation Yellow Ribbon
YouTube: NBC: 9/11: Operation Yellow Ribbon
The Washington Post: I was stranded in Newfoundland on Sept 11. Here’s my “Come From Away” story