Shadow in the Cloud parents guide

Shadow in the Cloud Parent Guide

This isn't just another World War II movie. It's way weirder and more interesting than that.

Overall C+

Digital on Demand: On a dangerous flight to deliver top secret cargo, Maude Garrett sees shadows in the clouds and a shape on the wing. Neither bode well for a safe trip.

Release date January 1, 2021

Violence D
Sexual Content C
Profanity D
Substance Use A

Why is Shadow in the Cloud rated R? The MPAA rated Shadow in the Cloud R for language throughout, sexual references and violence.

Run Time: 83 minutes

Parent Movie Review

On a foggy night at the Auckland Air Base in 1943, flight officer Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) boards The Fool’s Errand, a B-17 flying fortress delivering critical components to Samoa. Even with specific orders from the Major, Maude faces an uphill struggle to get the appallingly sexist air crew to accept her presence on their plane. But her package is of critical importance, and Maude it more than capable of dealing with anything to ensure its security, even if that means having to sit in the exposed belly turret under the plane.

With her unique vantage point, Maude soon sees two things that make the trip more perilous. First are the shadows in the night sky that indicate Japanese enemy aircraft. Second is a shape on the wing, as if something were alive out there…and worst of all, the crew won’t believe her on either count. Trapped in a claustrophobic turret as things fall apart around her, Maude will have to be creative if she wants to survive this flight.

I will readily admit that I had dangerously low expectations for this movie, but I was immediately intrigued by the surprisingly compelling synth soundtrack. I know synth isn’t for everyone, but when was the last time you heard it in a WWII movie? Most of them stick with sweeping and dramatic orchestral scores, which does make sense – but this isn’t just another WWII movie. It’s way weirder and more interesting than that. Think On the Basis of Sex crossed with that old Twilight Zone episode, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. How often do you get that mash-up in a film?

I was further impressed by Chloë Grace Moretz (who I’ve always been fond of for films like Greta) and who manages to take one of the silliest premises I’ve ever heard of and give it some substance. That’s no mean feat. Even talented actors can get buried in goofy scripts, but Chloë Grace Moretz makes this one shine almost in spite of itself.

None of that is to say that this is a good family film, because it absolutely is not. There are buckets of profanity and the violence is quite gruesome. But if you can sit through that, this is a fun action thriller which is willing to hit above its weight at more serious topics like misogyny and racism – all while constantly reminding me of a Twilight Zone episode. Now, I realize I’m probably the odd man out here, but that’s a real home run for me. Your mileage may vary.

Directed by Roseanne Liang. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Beulah Koale. Running time: 83 minutes. Theatrical release January 1, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Shadow in the Cloud

Shadow in the Cloud
Rating & Content Info

Why is Shadow in the Cloud rated R? Shadow in the Cloud is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, sexual references and violence.

Violence:   A number of people are messily shot and killed in air combat. A character falls to their death. A person’s throat is cut out. Other incidents include a grisly broken finger (which the person resets on their own) and small lacerations, bruising, and other small injuries. There are references to severe domestic violence.
Sexual Content: There is a scene containing a great deal of crude sexual and misogynistic language. A woman is briefly shown breastfeeding a baby.
Profanity:   There are 69 uses of extreme profanity and 19 scatological profanities. There are also occasional mild curses and terms of deity. There is occasional racist language used by one character in particular.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are references to alcoholism but no substances are seen or ingested on screen.

Page last updated

Shadow in the Cloud Parents' Guide

During WWII, different countries had very different attitudes towards how women were allowed to participate in the war effort. What were your country’s policies? How did they affect the people involved? What were some of the effects of their service?

There are references to domestic abuse, and the difficulties an individual had escaping that situation. What was the conversation around domestic violence like in the 1940s? How have attitudes changed since then?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

I would suspect that this movie was heavily inspired by Atomic Blonde, starring Charlize Thereon. Other films about the perils of air combat in the Second World War include Red Tails, Aces High, and Flying Tigers.