One A Wing And A Prayer is an inspiring and heartwarming film that depicts a true story of faith and survival. The movie follows the harrowing journey of the White family as they try to land a plane safely after their pilot unexpectedly dies mid-flight on Easter Sunday 2009. Having no experience flying a twin-engine aircraft, Doug S. White, played by Dennis Quaid, struggles to save his entire family from a seemingly certain tragedy. With the help of a far-flung group of determined “angels,” who join forces in a race against time and weather, the Whites learn a great deal about themselves, each other, and the miracles that simple faith can achieve.
Dennis Quaid leads the cast as Doug White, reuniting with his Soul Surfer and Reagan director, Sean McNamara. The screenplay is written by Brian Egeston, while the film features a small cast, including Heather Graham, and Jesse Metcalfe. The real-life event brought to the big screen offers insight into what happens at the flight towers and with air traffic controllers. Although the plot centers around White’s forced takeover of the controls, the movie does a wonderful job of giving good insight.
In April 2009, Doug White, his wife Terry (Graham), and two daughters were flying back home from Florida to Louisiana on a private plane when the pilot had a fatal heart attack. White, who had a pilot’s license but had never flown a plane as big as the King Air, was forced to take over the controls. Despite his lack of experience and questioning his own faith, Doug had to try his best to guide the plane to a nearby landing strip. To help him, an aspiring air-traffic controller broke protocol and contacted experienced pilot Kari (Metcalfe) from his home in Connecticut, who managed to contact Doug directly and provide step-by-step advice.
One of the film’s highlights is the outstanding performance of Raina Grey, who plays 9-year-old Donna, a flight enthusiast, and a brilliant one at that. Grey beautifully emboldens her character’s intelligence, strength, courage, passionate drive, and outlook on life. She also has some of the best lines and scenes in the film. If the person she portrayed is as real as Doug, I truly hope that little girl grew up to become the pilot she truly deserves to be!
Despite some shortcomings, such as cartoonish CGI graphics at the beginning of the movie, obvious lip-synching to songs, and a mismatch of choir vocals in the church scene, On A Wing And A Prayer remains a fairly decent film that will keep you pretty damn close to the edge of your seat.
On A Wing And A Prayer is an inspiring and uplifting movie that celebrates the power of faith and determination. If this story of spiritual inspiration piques your interest, then I recommend this film as a great choice to see. However, the film’s intentional and overwhelming incorporation of artifacts, scripture/verbiage, and songs (one even sung by Quaid –“I’ll Fly Away”) that richly promote the practice and beliefs of Christianity may be a bit much for some viewers, including myself. Nonetheless, the message of hope and resilience is more than universally clear.
On A Wing And A Prayer will premiere on Prime Video Friday, April 7th.