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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fly Away Home is a poignant and inspiring film about a 13-year-old girl from New Zealand sent to live with her father in Canada after her mother dies in a car accident. The car accident at the beginning may be difficult for younger viewers and for anyone who has experienced a similar tragedy. But Fly Away Home's message of concern and protection of Canada geese and their habitats, and the inventive ways Amy and Tom Alden work together to save them, should delight animal lovers of all ages. As a "mother goose" to the gaggle of geese she helps to fly south for the winter, Amy shows a great deal of care and conviction.
What's the story?
In FLY AWAY HOME, 13-year-old Amy must go live with her father Tom (Jeff Daniels), whom she barely knows, in a new country after her mother is killed in a car crash. Amy does not want to be comforted, and wanders silently through the marshes near her new home. When developers illegally mow down the marsh, killing a goose, Amy finds the eggs she left behind, and begins to resolve her loss by mothering the goslings. Since she is the first thing they see when they hatch, they "imprint" her, and think of her as their mother, following her everywhere, even into the shower. The local authorities insist that their wings be clipped, since without their mother they can't learn to migrate and will cause problems for the community when they try to fly. But Amy and her father won't allow the geese to be impaired. Tom and Amy work together to teach the geese how to fly, and then migrate. As they work together, Amy finds a way to begin to heal her loss of her mother and her relationship with Tom.
Is it any good?
This film is a thrilling adventure, exquisitely told, by the same director and photographer who made The Black Stallion. Ballard has the patience to let the story tell itself in Fly Away Home, and the quiet moments are breathtakingly beautiful and heartbreakingly touching.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it's so important to Amy to keep the geese wild and free in Fly Away Home. What kind of a life would they have had with their wings clipped?
Families can also talk about the importance of preserving wetlands and their importance as an ecosystem. What's lost if too many wetlands are developed?
How does Amy's cause help her heal after her mother's death?
- In theaters: May 1, 1998
- On DVD or streaming: August 7, 2001
- Cast: Anna Paquin, Dana Delany, Jeff Daniels
- Director: Carroll Ballard
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Great girl role models, Wild animals
- Character strengths: Communication, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.