View from the Top

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View from the Top
View from the top poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bruno Barreto
Produced by Brad Grey
Matthew Baer
Bobby Cohen
Written by Eric Wald
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow
Mark Ruffalo
Candice Bergen
Kelly Preston
Christina Applegate
Rob Lowe
Mike Myers
Music by Theodore Shapiro (composer)
Cinematography Affonso Beato
Edited by Christopher Greenbury
Ray Hubley
Charles Ireland
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • March 21, 2003 (2003-03-21)
Running time 87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $19,526,014[1]

View from the Top is a 2003 romantic comedy film about a young woman from a small town who sets out to fulfill her dream of becoming a flight attendant. The film was directed by Bruno Barreto, and stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Applegate, and Mark Ruffalo.


Donna Jensen (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a girl from a small town in Nevada who wishes to see the world in order to get away from her unhappy life of living in a trailer with her alcoholic mother, a former Las Vegas showgirl, and her abusive, alcoholic stepfather. After graduating from high school, Donna tries to make ends meet by working as a clerk in a Big Lots. After her boyfriend (Marc Blucas) leaves her for another girl, she goes to a bar where she sees a talkshow segment about Sally Weston, who has written a memoir called My Life in the Sky, and decides to follow her destiny by becoming a flight attendant. Her first position is at a small, seedy California commuter airline but this success builds her confidence up and encourages her to attend open interviews for Royalty Airlines. She convinces her two co-workers, Sherry and Christine (Kelly Preston and Christina Applegate), to join her. While Christine and Donna get in, Sherry does not. Donna puts her heart and soul into the training camp, and, after meeting her idol Sally Weston (Candice Bergen), she is determined to be assigned to the top route, "Paris, First Class, International". Alas, when the assignments are posted, Donna is shocked to discover that she has been assigned to a commuter route in Cleveland. Christine, who had initially struggled with the material and procedures, has inexplicably been assigned the high-priority New York route.

A few months later, by chance, Donna runs into Christine in Cleveland. Donna knows from previous experience that Christine has the airplane soap from Sally's house during their training sessions, but is still shocked when Christine empties her handbag to reveal all manner of Royalty Air items. Even the smallest theft is strictly prohibited by Royalty Airlines, and could mean termination. Still sure there was some sort of error in her route assignment, Donna turns to Sally Weston for help. Through a course of events, Donna discovers that Christine had switched their test booklets when they were being handed up to their trainer - Christine's route assignment is rightfully Donna's, and vice versa. When Sally asks to have airline security spy on Christine's flight - to see if she stole any property (a code blue) - Christine gets caught and is fired from Royalty. Donna gets the chance to re-take her exam and achieves a perfect score, resulting in being assigned a Paris, First Class, International route. However, following her "destiny" means deciding between a boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo) and her career. She chooses her career.

Though she gets all that she wants - Paris, first class, etc. - Donna realizes that she is still not happy. She misses her boyfriend in Cleveland terribly, and with Sally Weston's encouragement, she returns to Cleveland to meet him. She does, and after a heartfelt speech to his deaf grandmother, which he overhears, the two kiss and make up. The movie ends with Donna wishing her passengers well as they land in Cleveland, having become a pilot.


Release and reception[edit]

View from the Top opened on March 21, 2003 (it was originally scheduled for Christmas 2001, but in light of the September 11 terrorist attacks and due to the fact that the story revolves around a flight attendant on several planes, the release was pushed back) and grossed $7,009,513 in its opening weekend, making #4 behind Bringing Down the House, Dreamcatcher, and Agent Cody Banks.[2] The film would eventually gross $15,614,000 domestically and $3,912,014 internationally, totaling $19,526,014 worldwide.[3]

The film currently holds a 14% 'Rotten' rating on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus "Uneven in tone and badly edited, A View From the Top wastes the talents of its cast and condescends to its characters."[4] Paltrow herself later disparaged the film, calling it "terrible".[5]


External links[edit]