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Movie Review

Fly Away Home

Reviewed by: Dale Mason

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
10 to adult
110 min.

Starring: Anna Paquin, Jeff Daniels, Dana Delany / Director: Carroll Ballard

When 13-year-old Amy Alden’s mother is killed in an auto accident, Amy (Anna Paquin) must move to Canada to live with her father, an artist/inventor, on his rural farm. Re-establishing their near-forgotten relationship is hard, due to their dissimilar lifestyles and Amy’s less than cooperative spirit.

It is Amy’s eventual discovery of a nest of orphaned goose eggs that begins bringing this concerned father and his hurting daughter toward a sense of oneness. When the eggs hatch, the geese “imprint” on Amy (they perceive her as their own “mother” goose, following her everywhere). This inspires dad to work feverishly to prove his love, in a rather unconventional way. He devises a plan that will allow the flock of 15 to avoid being confiscated by a zealous wildlife officer, if they can be trained to migrate. Father teaches daughter to fly an ultralight aircraft and follows her and her now mature geese on the 500 mile adventure to a North Carolina marsh. (Includes some beautiful aerial photography during some of these scenes.)

This story is based to some degree on a true event. It is interesting and contains enough twists and tension to hold the attention of most viewers. However, its blatant subplot of politically correct environmentalism overshadows an otherwise nice story. (The environment is esteemed more highly than any human idea or use, a concept rooted in the evolutionary worldview where mankind is nothing really special; just another animal sharing the Earth with our distant cousins).

A note to parents; includes about 10 profanities and expletives / Amy drinking alcohol with adults (quick scene) / partial nudity (father runs outside in his underwear, Amy takes a shower [no genitalia shown]) / New Age-type reference to Amy’s dead mother being “everywhere” in everything / father involved in an ongoing off screen fornication relationship (audience is aware that he sleeps with a woman from time to time) / deception used to accomplish a “good” deed (situation ethics) / and a lack of any biblical standard in the father’s childrearing (permissiveness seems to be the key to a sweet relationship).

Yes, I know, many worse films have been released. The reason why I rated this as “Very Offensive” has mostly to do with the anti-biblical worldview taught throughout the movie, coupled with the targeted audience of children. One alternative suggestion to this film would be “Night Crossing”, a 1981 release/true story about two East German families who make and fly their own hot air balloon to freedom in West Germany.

Year of Release—1996

Viewer Comments
I’ve seen Fly Away Home a few times and it’s one of my favorites. Yes, the New Age reference to the deceased mother being “everywhere” was real annoying.

Yes, I was concerned about the live-in girlfriend. But, all in all, it was a beautiful movie. you’re missing the point with much of your criticism of the movie. It’s about a dad that realizes he has messed up most of his life, who kicks himself for having split from his wife. He sees a hurting daughter that comes back into his goofy life and he longs to reconnect with her. The lengths to which he goes should make us cheer—and weep!

This movie will resonate with anyone who has yearned for a better relationship with a distant father; there certainly are enough of those around. While some of your concerns about the movie are valid, I do believe you were a bit oversensitive at points.

While I am easily offended by sexual references in movies, I don’t consider seeing a 12-year-old’s wet legs or shoulders in the shower to be “partial nudity.” Nor do consider seeing a man running through the field in his underwear to be offensive. Neither of these scenes were sexually-oriented; they were not gratuitous—they had a purpose in the story. And please, Christians, environmentalists are not the enemy! Don’t warn me about tree-huggers in movies as if they are a threat to the church—I find the warnings even more offensive. All in all, it was a lovely and tender movie—yes with some points that will bother some—but it was a story of love and healing revolving around some odd-ball lovable characters.
—Roger L. Haun, age 41
First, a big thank-you for your service! I just found it and it seems to be a pretty balanced. It’s not so critical as to meet all of our strictest standards, (that don’t always reflect in the choices that we actually make). However, there seems to be sufficient information to apply our own level of sensitivity to the issues that are a concern. Now, as to “Fly Away Home.” I really thought that this was going to be a safe, family, nature-oriented movie.

However, in addition to the points that you have made, I was deeply offended by the total lack of respect for authority, and the potent underlying message of: “Everyone needs to decide what is right in their own eyes.” The girl in the movie consistantly defied parental, school, and law enforcement authorities. I am not at all opposed to pointing out the errors of those in authority, but it is wrong to teach kids to believe that it is acceptable to act on whatever values that each individual decides to adopt, and that it is a virtue to rebel disrespectfully against any that you don’t like. Again, many thanks for your service!
—Jeff Wachtman
Overall, a delightful movie. Mr. Mason’s comments are valid, but miss a connection or two. Yes, Dad is in a “fornicating” relationship. But it is the woman who first makes a real connection with Amy when she is accidentally viewed in the shower by identifying, addressing, and allaying Amy’s concerns while Dad is just confused. Yes, Dad uses unconventional ways to make a connection with Amy, but also sells his most prized piece to fund the effort, making a material and emotinal sacrifice for Amy. Our family (with a 7 year old girl) thoroughly enjoyed it and have had several discussions about various parts of the film, from the natural aspects of imprinting to inappropriateness of Dad being so permissive to the portrayal of a “step-mother” in a positive light. Yes, there are worse films and many betters, but this is better than Mr. Mason credits it. See it and enjoy it!
—David E. Johnson, age 43
It was a pretty good movie, but the secular critics are saying far too many nice things about this film.
Beautiful scenery (except for a hairy man running around in his underwear) but as mentioned in review, New Age. I really enjoy the wonderful nature that God CREATED and it certainly is not by chance that geese fly in an aerodynamic design, as well as know directions.
—M. Hall, age 26