Movie Review: Fly Away Home

Fly Away Home Trailer

Fly Away Home Summary

After her mother Aliane dies in a car accident, 13-year-old Amy Alden is brought from New Zealand to Ontario, Canada, by her estranged father Thomas Alden, a sculptor and inventor, to live with him and his girlfriend Susan.

When a construction crew destroys a small wilderness area near the Alden home, Amy finds an abandoned nest of 16 goose eggs. Without Thomas, Susan, or her uncle David knowing, she takes the eggs and keeps them in a dresser in her father’s old barn to incubate. When the eggs hatch, she is allowed to keep the goslings as pets. Thomas asks for help from local Animal Regulation officer Glen Seifert on how to care for the geese. Seifert comes over to the Alden house, and explains that the geese have imprinted on Amy as their mother. He explains that geese learn everything from their parents including migratory routes, but also warns Thomas that a private ordinance dictates that all domestic geese must have their wings pinioned (clipped) to render them flightless. He promptly tries to demonstrate the process with one of the chicks, which upsets Amy. Thomas throws Seifert off his property, only for Seifert to threaten the Aldens that if the birds start flying, he will have to confiscate them.

Thomas decides to use an ultralight aircraft to teach the birds to fly and show them their migratory routes, but quickly realizes the birds will only follow Amy. Aided by his friend Barry, Thomas teaches Amy how to fly an ultralight aircraft of her own. David knows someone running a bird sanctuary in North Carolina, and arranges for the geese to go to the sanctuary. The birds have to arrive before November 1, or the sanctuary will be torn down by developers who plan to turn it into a coastal housing development.

Amy and Thomas practice flying the aircraft, but Igor, the weakest of the geese, who has a limp, accidentally hits the front of Amy’s aircraft and lands in an isolated forest. While the group goes off to search for the bird, Glen Seifert returns to the Alden farm and confiscates the other geese. The next day, the Aldens free the geese, and Amy leads them on their migration to North Carolina.

Making an emergency landing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in western New York on the south shore of Lake Ontario, Amy and Thomas almost get arrested. They become national news, with residents cheering them on.

Thomas and Amy meet an old woman with a vendetta against goose shooting, and she invites them to stay the night at her house. That night Amy asks Thomas why he seldom visited her and her mother. From her mother, she knows that her parents were artists, who tend to be selfish, and that her mother left for both of their sakes. Thomas tells her that he was afraid and angry at himself for letting them leave, so he spent the next ten years buried in his work. He apologizes to Amy.

Thirty miles before reaching the bird sanctuary, Thomas’s aircraft suffers a structural failure and crashes in a cornfield; having suffered a dislocated shoulder he tells Amy to finish the journey by herself. Thomas hitchhikes to the bird sanctuary. While waiting for the geese, Thomas, Susan, David, Barry, and many animal enthusiasts stand up to developers who are waiting to start the excavation of the site.

Amy eventually appears with the geese, much to the joy of the townspeople and Amy’s family, and to the dismay of the developers. The townspeople and the Aldens celebrate their victory. During the end credits, all 16 geese -including Igor- return to the Aldens’ farm on their own in the following spring.

Fly Away Home Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A powerful family movie. The best scene is the very end.

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