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Hanks is a high-pressure Fed-Ex executive who spends too much time away from his girlfriend (Helen Hunt) because he is busy supervising and solving major problems in the company. But he promises to be home for New Year's Eve.
Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. His plane is pushed off-course and crashes in the ocean; Hanks, the only survivor, is marooned on an empty island. (Hanks is convincing in his solitude.) He spends the next four years there, builds a raft in the meantime, then heads out to sea - and back to civilization.
The plane crash was by far the most exciting scene. The movie was a little slow in the middle, but overall it was catching.
Plot spoiler ahead: At least the writers didn't do a typical Hollywood ending and put Hanks back together with his old girlfriend when he finally returned. (She married another guy and didn't want to leave him for Hanks.) Basically the plot was as intriguing as the movie itself.
Although Castaway wasn't as hugely outstanding as I expected and wasn't as spectacular as the preview hype would lead you to believe, it definitely is worth seeing.