Flight is indeed the instinct engendered by Michael Wallerstein’s well-intentioned but dreary new drama about memory, loss and combinations of the two. Maria Tucci, an actor of dignity and command, plays Judith, an elderly widow who is slowly losing hold of her mind; when her investment-banker son, Andrew (Walker), moves her to a nursing home, a sympathetic staffer named Linda (Corman) takes interest in the personal history that she has hidden from Andrew for years. She’s octogenarian, European-born and Jewish: Can you guess what her secrets might involve?
As the remaining survivors of the Holocaust disappear, the recovery of their stories is a matter of no small interest, but Wallerstein treads timidly and unconvincingly around Flight’s potential drama, resorting instead to maudlin contrivance. The unfortunate Walker can’t do much to win our interest for Andrew, a featureless blob who spends much of his time on the telephone; and Corman’s natural likability cannot overcome her character’s pointless fussiness, germophobia and propensity for banal dialogue. “Good thing you didn’t go through those terrible times,” she tells Maria. “The concentration camps? I saw Schindler’s List. Terrible. I can never get over our capacity for cruelty.” This kind of thing might get a pass in the rec room of an actual retirement facility, but for a paying audience at an actual theater, it flies below the scope of serious attention.—Adam Feldman