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What's the story?
Milly (Lucy Deakins), her mother, Charlene (Bonnie Bedelia), and her brother, Louis (Fred Savage), move into a new home, still feeling bereft over the loss of the father of the family. Milly sees a mysterious boy (Jay Underwood) on the roof next door. She learns that Eric is autistic, has never spoken, and ever since his parents were killed when he was five, he's believed that he's an airplane. Adjustment to the new environment is difficult. Charlene is overwhelmed by the computers at her new job. Louis is terrorized by bullies and dog Max by a Doberman. At school, Milly befriends Eric and a teacher asks her to work with him, telling her that he doesn't need a doctor as much as he needs a friend. After a near fall from a bridge, Milly tells her psychiatrist that Eric really can fly, and a series of events lead to the pair being chased up to the roof of the high school. Eric and Milly float off together, as the astonished community watches. Eric speaks at last, telling Milly he loves her, and flying away forever. She realizes why he had to leave when the scientists and journalists arrive the next day.
Is it any good?
THE BOY WHO COULD FLY is a charming fantasy with a lot of heart and outstanding performances by three terrific kids who keep up with some of the finest adult actors in movies. Eric and Milly heal each other by responding to each other. For him, she provides the first reason he has ever had to try to make contact with another person. For her, he provides a reason to feel, and to give to another person, especially important after the loss of her father.
Eric's character reminds us, among other things, that anything is possible. "He made us believe in ourselves again...We're all special. We're all a little like Eric. Maybe we can't soar off into the clouds. But somewhere, deep inside, we can all fly." There are strong themes of faith in oneself, and bravery, and Eric's influence continues. Charlene masters the computer. Louis triumphs over the bullies. Max even scares away the Doberman.
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