Fly Away, directed by Janet Grillo, is a heart-touching, thorough drama that highlights the life of a single mother, Jeanne (Beth Broderick), who is stuck between being a supporting parent for her 16-year-old, extremely autistic daughter, Mandy (Ashley Rickards), and between leading a normal life, maintaining a job and being in a relationship with neighbour Tom (Greg Germann). On the other hand, Mandy’s father, Peter (JR Bourne), and the school principal, Liz Howell (Reno) suggest it is time to let go especially that she is getting out of control.
The plot opens with displaying Mandy’s clumsy drawings, yet, received her full attention, and immediately shifts to Mandy’s midnight screams that startle Jeanne. Although Jeanne is in constant battles between meeting deadlines as a business consultant, taming the chaos and getting undisturbed sleeps, Jeanne refuses but to hold on.
The film, including a sense of humor shedding light on a mother-child bond, proceeds revealing finest details of their daily life with highly unpredictable events and very convincing performances played by the cast, especially the actresses Broderick and Rickards. In spite of their formidable roles, you can still feel the pain, understand the situation, and most important, you might at some point wonder if they’re acting or it’s a live show.
Director Grillo focused on a situation that is rarely tickled, and translates the thought invading many parents with similar children that home is always the best environment for their child. The plot also insists that even though you’re giving up multiplied parts of your life to your child and surrounding them with a hard shell where all they can find inside is love, this is never enough to a child with a special need who needs a “Special Treatment” badly. This leads to an unpredictable, slightly open and touching ending.
“Fly Away” is totally a flick, and would shower you with loads of lessons to help yourself and others manage and choose the best despite of what you feel. Even if you don’t get every single lesson issued there, you will totally learn something out of it. Enjoy it!