“Fly Away Home,” reviewed by Jennifer Anne Messing.
Family drama/Adventure. Rated PG. Recommended for family viewing. Check your favorite local and online movie rental stores, or the public library for availability.
“Fly Away Home” is a one-hour, forty-seven minute, Columbia Pictures 1996 release, in color, directed by Carroll Ballard, starring Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin, Dana Delany, and Terry Kinney. “Fly Away Home” tells the story of Amy (Anna Paquin), a 13-year-old girl whose mother dies in an auto wreck in New Zealand. Very soon after her mother’s death, Amy is reunited with her estranged father, Thomas Alden (Jeff Daniels), who takes her to live with him in Ontario, Canada. Thomas Alden is an eccentric inventor whom Amy has not seen since she was three years old, when Alden and Amy’s mother were divorced.
Amy has an extremely difficult time adjusting to her new life in Canada, and copes with the loss of her mother by retreating into an imaginary world of her own and withdrawing from participating in her new life. Though her father tries desperately to reach out to Amy and get her interested in school and new pursuits, nothing seems to work. Thomas’ brother, David Alden (Terry Kinney), and his girlfriend Susan Barnes (Dana Delany) also take an interest in helping Amy find a new purpose and joy in living.
One day, while playing outdoors, Amy discovers a nest of goose eggs that were abandoned when developers began tearing up a local forest. The eggs hatch and Amy asks her father if she can keep them. Soon, Amy becomes “Mama Goose” and her whole world revolves around taking care of the flock of baby goslings.
As the months pass by, Thomas Alden realizes that the geese will need to fly south for the winter, and that Amy will not be able to keep them forever. Thomas, who also flies an ultralight plane as a hobby, comes up with an idea. He suggests that he’ll teach Amy how to fly an ultralight plane so Amy and he, together, can lead the birds south for the winter. What follows in the ensuing weeks is the adventure of a lifetime for Amy. The project she and her father take on together draws them closer together as they overcome struggles and as Amy is mentored by her dad while he gives her flying lessons.
Amy comes to realize that though she lost her mother whom she loved deeply, her father is also a wonderful man who is a blessing in her life. Amy also comes to know true love and acceptance in a brand new family, a new city, and in a new life where she’s blossoming and discovering her talents and her true self-worth as a young lady.
“Fly Away Home” is a movie that speaks of the strength of the human heart—strength to heal and overcome pain and open itself to love again, in due time. I think another great point this movie makes is that family relationships, especially relationships with parents, are so important—whether parents are still married or have separated or divorced. There’s a sense of well-being that a young child, or even an adult child, derives from knowing that all is well between himself and his parents.
One scene that was well-done and sensitively handled was the conversation between Amy and her father about the reason for her parents’ divorce. It seemed apparent that neither Amy’s mother nor her father blamed the other, but both took full responsibility for their part in causing break-up. The issue of divorce wasn’t trivialized and, in fact, Thomas Alden even expressed his regret at some of the bad choices he had made earlier in life. Altogether the hard issues were maturely communicated, leaving the viewer with a balanced view of the causes and effects of that marriage break-up.
“Fly Away Home” features an inspiring musical score and breathtaking cinematography. It also offers enough adventure interest for dads and boys, and just the right amount of heart-tugging issues to keep the attention of moms and daughters. Happy viewing!
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“Fly Away Home” makes a great addition to your family movie collection!
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Portland residents can borrow “Fly Away Home” (1996) on DVD, at the Multnomah County Library, tel. 503-988-5234. “Fly Away Home” (1996) in DVD and BLU RAY format can be rented at Movie Madness, 4320 SE Belmont, Portland, Oregon, 97215, tel. 503-234-4363.
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Author, poet, speaker and singer Jennifer Anne F. Messing of Portland, Oregon, is a wife, and mother of three children. She has a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education, a diploma in Journalism and Short Story Writing, and a diploma in Computer Secretarial. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, Jennifer Anne has over 200 articles, movie reviews, and poems published in 60 magazines and books, including The Christian Journal, Evangel, LIVE, Standard, Bible Advocate, Christian Fiction Online and Nudges from God. Her poetry gift book, MORNING’S PROMISE: Poetic Moments in His Presence is now available in trade paperback and e-book (Kindle) format. CLICK HERE TO ORDER, or find more information on her website: www.JenniferAnneMessing.com.
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