A Deeper Look into “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”


Image by Pixabay via Pexels

By Charles Scott, Staff Writer

“Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” is a classic Thanksgiving comedy as the protagonist tries to return home to his family for Thanksgiving dinner.

Now, in plain sight, this may seem like any other comedy – but it has a much deeper message that applies to everyone. The protagonist, Neal, gets stuck with a guy named Del as he struggles to make his way home. Del tends to be a mess, leading the two to experience quite absurd moments – such as driving on the wrong side of the road or setting their car on fire with a cigarette butt. The characters are opposites, and it proves hard for Neal to tolerate some of Del’s actions. Del is kind-hearted and only tries to do the best for Neal, but it frustrates him as their situation only worsens.

In the final act of the film, it’s revealed to us that Del’s wife had passed away and he is homeless. Although Del has to deal with some serious hardships, he had only tried to help Neal throughout the entire film! The film is about building tolerance and empathy for others as you never fully understand the troubles of those around you. The message of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” is that you never know someone’s full story, and it’s important to try and be understanding of others and the problems they face. You may never fully know what someone is going through!