Kelly Reilly has mostly been relegated to “supporting player” territory throughout her career, but she’s also developed a reputation for being able to hold her own opposite some of the heaviest hitters in the world of film and television. That ability is frequently exhibited on Yellowstone, where she’s trading lines with the likes of Kevin Costner, but it’s never been more on display than in the 2012 drama Flight. If you’re wondering who the heavy-hitter was in that little film, it was none other than Denzel Washington.
Flight follows the travails of a drug-addicted, alcoholic pilot (Washington) who manages to bravely save the lives of a plane full of passengers after an unexpected mid-air calamity. The only problem is that the pilot was intoxicated at the time. Further complications arise as the National Transportation Safety Board opens an investigation into the event, with obvious (and not-so-obvious) drama ensuing.
If you’re having trouble placing Reilly’s face in Flight, she played Nicole, the recovering heroin addict whom Washington’s spiraling pilot meets in the hospital while recovering from injuries sustained during his daring landing. While the pair share a palpable chemistry throughout the film, they’re also frequently at odds, with the pilot’s addictions infringing on Nicole’s desperate attempts to stay clean. Somewhere in the mix, Reilly delivers a beautifully nuanced performance full of fragile sincerity and stoic determination that had “star-making performance” written all over it.
While Flight did better than average at the box office, pulling in $161.7 million worldwide, it still feels like not enough folks saw the film. Thus, Kelly Reilly remained stuck on the fringes of the A-list.