“Fly Away Home” is one of my favorite childhood movies. Oscar-winning actor Anna Paquin (X-Men) captures the innocence and anger of a child whose mother passed away in a tragic car accident. She had to leave her home in New Zealand and was sent to her father’s farm in Canada. Her father Thomas, a nerdy inventor, played by one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors Jeff Daniels (Gettysburg, Dumb and Dumber). His girlfriend Susan (Dana Delany) lovingly and patiently gives Amy space and time she needs to adjust to her new home. However, everyone’s entire life was turned upside down when Amy found some goose eggs in the midst of a developer’s bulldozing and takes them home to mother.
Growing up, I would want to watch this movie so much that my mom had to start suggesting others to watch because she was afraid I was getting too obsessed (and because she did not like that the mom died). However, I wanted to be Amy. She was so fun and had an entire flock of Canadian geese waddling after her on a beautiful Canadian farm.
When she was first sent to her fathers she found her mother’s clothes from a long time ago and started dressing up in vintage skirts and dresses. Susan made her beautiful earrings and she had long brown hair. In my short eight years of life in the American south to me, it seemed like Amy lived in a magical world filled with wild beauty.
“The first rule about friends is they have to trust each other.”
Her world was a lonely one. Which I could probably relate to as well. She found herself having to find her own entertainment and she did not have to wait too long. After she found the eggs she raised them as her own. As they matured, they believed Amy was their mother, which was detrimental to the future of the geese. If they do not have anyone to show them how to fly south they would not survive.
Luckily, Thomas built an ultralight airplane for Amy to fly. In the beginning, it was difficult convincing Amy, who was against her flying from Canada to North Carolina, but in the end, Amy and her dad decide to fly together and lead the geese. It is a lot of trial and error in having a thirteen-year-old teaching an entire flock of geese how to fly, and how to find their migratory route. They encounter bumps along the way, but in the end the geese find their way, and so does Amy and her dad.
“Fly Away Home” is a visionary masterpiece by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. Exquisite scenery from Canada to North Carolina. However, the majority of the filming locations were in Canada. The idea for the story came from the true story of Jessica Dubroff, who died along with her dad and flight instructor when she attempted to become the youngest cross-country pilot in history. The character and story are different but the idea of a young pilot came from that original, tragic event. It was written for film by Robert Rodat and directed by Carroll Ballard.
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an 87% critic score and a 70% audience score. It just makes me wonder if these people actually saw the film. Albeit it is not the next Godfather; however, this is one of the most heartwarming, beautifully written, and gorgeously filmed movies in my lifetime. The relationship between nature and humans and their habitat is visionary. It is “visually uplifting, and the story is quirky enough and the dialogue so fresh and well-acted that this film rises above its genre.”
Watch it. You will not be disappointed.