What You Need To Know:
The pilot episode of MANIFEST begins with the Stone family in an airport waiting to return home after a Jamaican vacation. Michaela, along with her brother, Ben, and his son, Cal, who has cancer, choose to take a later flight to get voucher money. Michaela’s mother quotes Romans 8:28 to her daughter, that God works all things together for good, but Michaela’s skeptical.
Once aboard Flight 828 to New York, passengers experience extreme turbulence on the flight. Finally, the plane lands and the passengers learn from law enforcement that five years have passed. It’s now 2018, and Ben and Michaela learn that Ben’s daughter aged, Michaela’s fiancée got married to her best friend, and their mother died.
Through all the shock of her newfound life, Michaela starts to hear a voice urging her to do good works. Meanwhile, another passenger, Saanvi, learns that her cancer research saved thousands of pediatric patients. Under a new medical trial using her research, Saanvi helps get Cal on the new treatment plan. Ben also hears the mystery voice in his head, like Michaela, prompting him to do good.
With the voice’s help, Michaela uncovers a kidnapper hiding two abducted children and saves a young boy from being run over from a bus. As the episode ends, Michaela goes to church and asks the pastor about Romans 8:28 and how someone can truly know they’re “called” by God to do good things for His glory.
The pilot episode of MANIFEST is compelling and moving, with believable performances. It also has a couple exciting moments. Viewers will be intrigued by the episode’s mystery elements.
Even better, the pilot contains strong Christian, biblical elements, including themes about serving others and bearing one another’s burdens. Romans 8:28 (“for we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”) provides a major theme throughout the episode. It prompts characters to use the plane flight to make the world a better place and inspires one character to begin a journey of faith using the Bible, which a priest gives to them. Hopefully, other episodes will keep inserting such Christian, biblical references. There is some brief foul language, light violence and miscellaneous immorality in the pilot, however. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.
(CC, BB, L, V, S, M):