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Sole Survivor (2013) Online

Sole Survivor (2013) Online
Original Title :
Sole Survivor
Genre :
Movie / Documentary
Year :
Directror :
Ky Dickens
Cast :
Bahia Bakari,Cecelia Cichan,George Lamson Jr.
Writer :
Ky Dickens
Budget :
Type :
Time :
1h 31min
Rating :

In the history of aviation, there have been only 14 of them: sole survivors of a commercial aviation disaster. Most have never spoken publicly about the loss, the guilt, the immense ... See full summary

Sole Survivor (2013) Online

In the history of aviation, there have been only 14 of them: sole survivors of a commercial aviation disaster. Most have never spoken publicly about the loss, the guilt, the immense pressure of feeling "spared." Who, after all, could ever truly understand? The answer is only each other. Sole Survivor brings four of them together (George Lamson, Cecilia Cichan, Bahia Bakari and Jim Polehinke) to share their very complex, personal stories for the first time. They revisit the most harrowing moments of their lives in an effort to heal and overcome their most perplexing questions. {locallinks-homepage}
Credited cast:
Bahia Bakari Bahia Bakari - Herself
Cecelia Cichan Cecelia Cichan - Herself
George Lamson Jr. George Lamson Jr. - Himself
James Polehinke James Polehinke - Himself
Shawn Pruchnicki Shawn Pruchnicki - Himself

User reviews

Longitude Temporary

Longitude Temporary

Survivor 1: "Sometimes the darkness can really pull you down." Survivor 2: "I know, I've been there." Two sole survivors share this brief exchange at separate stages in their healing processes. The reply is a simple phrase but it has rarely carried more truth and weight.

Ky Dickens has crafted a masterful documentary about four of the fourteen sole survivors of large commercial aircraft crashes. How do you overcome the guilt of being the only survivor? How do you move forward and allow yourself to live? The film offers no easy answers because it is different for each survivor. The strength of the film is that it doesn't serve as a voyeuristic experiment with a microscope used to gawk at these living anomalies. They are shown as extraordinary, not because they are some miraculous beings, but because they are average human beings struggling with baggage few of us will ever know.

As one of the survivors said, everyone struggles with difficult life experiences but it is about learning how to move forward. Sometimes that cannot be as easily accomplished without the ability to share the resulting feelings with others who know what it feels like too. For the four survivors in the film, the opportunity to communicate with each other offered a key that could only have been forged from like experiences.

A central piece of the puzzle was George, who struggled with survivor's guilt and the feeling of living an inadequate existence that could not hold up to the expectations of those who saw him only as a sole survivor. The film stands as proof that his years on this Earth post-crash have not been in vain. He and his daughter fulfilled a role in one younger survivor's life that nothing else could.

You will be broken down emotionally into a million pieces by the history of the four crashes told before the title of the film even appears on the screen. But I have never seen a documentary that puts the viewer back together, without manipulating emotions, to give a different perspective about the possibilities for healing and hope.

I was lucky enough to catch this at one of two screenings in the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. It will be making the rounds on the festival circuit this fall and winter so make sure to catch it. Ky Dickens said it should be airing in February 2014 on CNN as well.


Sadly, there are many plane crashes in this world. Plane crashes have caused many casualties and destruction and sometimes that makes us question flying but one thing that has come out of some plane crashes are sole survivors. We know through history there have only been a handful of sole survivors from plane crashes and that's what makes it an interesting story. Sole Survivor is the CNN documentary of four people who are sole survivors and their life and effects after surviving their own crashes.

This is a documentary that switches off and on who they are following and because of that, the film is a little uneven at times. Still though, the most interesting stories and people that eventually connected with each other are of George Lamson and Bahia Bakari. In 1985, George Lamson was celebrating Super Bowl Sunday in Reno when he survived a plane crash as he was traveling back to his home state of Minnesota. Bahia Bakari survived a crash in 2009 that left her in the water for nine hours hanging on to part of the plane's wreckage. Both stories connect as Lamson and Bakari lost parent figures in the crash and even though there is a language barrier between them, they meet up eventually and this likely will have a lasting impact on them.

The most different story is from Jim Polehinke who was the co-pilot and only survivor of a crash in Kentucky. His story goes into how the control tower were understaffed, a wrong runway was used and who was to blame for the crash. This is the story that ultimately adds the most variety to the film.

The most famous story is that of Cecelia Cichan, the toddler that survived a crash in the Detroit area that caused 154 casualties. This crash is only twenty five minutes from my house and is a story that connects to me as my aunt knew a person on the flight and it is still something that people talk about in my area close to thirty years after the crash. Even though Cecelia Cichan's story is the most famous of those in the documentary, it is kind of a forced segment and disappears afterwards.

Sole Survivor is a very sad but informational documentary. It is a good film with a unique idea that will likely never be explored again. Sole Survivor proves yet again what great films are being produced by CNN Films.


I wasn't sure what to expect when watching this film but it is gripping, sensitive and very unusual. The film effortlessly weaves together the stories of various survivors of plane crashes. The movie does a good job offering their point of you. The final 20 minutes gives a great payoff, finally hearing what happened in the main character's crash - and also shows him meeting the people he's been afraid to meet his whole life. It was clear the director won the trust of these people, none of which have ever shared their story publicly. For that reason alone, the film is a gift - giving insight into stories that may have never otherwise been shared.