The poignant yet humor filled story about a single mother of a teenager severely impacted by autism, forced to reckon with her daughters future. As her child becomes an adult, what used to work, no longer does. What will sustain her daughter, and herself? A parent-child love story, when love means letting go.
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This is a coming of age story of a young autistic woman. The reviewerwho sees the mother as abandoning her child to a home is clueless....just has zero instincts for comprehending autism whatsoever. Thereality is that autistic children grow up into adults who often have tofend for themselves. Continuing to stay with her mom would have beenthe worst thing that could happen to everyone involved, especially forMandy.If you look at this from a totally Aspie viewpoint like me, you wouldsee that the primary issue here is long-term functionality... and longterm happiness of everyone involved. There really wasn't any choice inthe matter than to leave her in an environment specifically designed byexperienced people to help young people like her in her situation tohave the absolute best chance at life. Her mom, trying to keep her athome as she had been would be progressively more disastrous. It wouldresult in her staying in the special education class for retardedpeople.... the best they could offer her would be a chance at at lifepushing a broom.... and loading down her mother with an ADOLESCENTautistic who can and does do things like throw desks.... and runaway....If you love someone, set them free.
Great acting by actress who played autistic girl. I kept trying to guess if it was a somewhat disabled girl who could ham it up for the camera or an actress. I dared not guess. Brilliant acting.Loved the way the disabled are shown to be more complex, loving,, confused than angry and jofulll than the plain crazed grotesques they can appear to ignorant out-siders. Yet the film does not sink into sentimentality and does not flinch to show she is crazed too. A young cute mentally disabled child is easier to handle and empathise with that an adult one. This film was a sensitive exploration of when this cross- over happens. Moreover it was inclusive from the inside how the disabled get stressed out by this too. Not to be mis-interpreted but people who try to adopt chimps run into the same problem. I seem to have seen more media coverage on fostered chimps than the dilemma of the disabled and their parents. Riverting and interesting throughout.Top marks for alluding at the end of the film to the premise that like the elderley the mentally disabled can and do fulfill mutually sexual needs to express affection. Even if its in their own way.See "Vengo" to catch a flamenco movie with a mentally disabled actor giving a great performance in one of the leading roles.
First I have to say that the acting was fantastic so regarding theactors/actresses bravo. Excellent portrayal of what life is like for asingle mother with a child with Autism, how the school district usuallyacts towards the child and what most men would do in this situation.However, giving up on your child should never ever be an option. God orwhatever you believe in gave that child to you for a reason, to love,honor and protect as he or she walks this earth. "With all my heart" ifthe mother loved that child "with all my heart" she would have neverleft that child at that home. The ending of this movie was awful. Sobasically I just watched a movie that was written about a Mom whocouldn't take it anymore and just gave up. Why didn't they continue themovie and show the little girl in the home waking up one night fromanother bad dream and wanting her Mom to be there to sing the lady bugsong to her? So so so sad. Rather this is a true story or not, itshould have never been produced. It gives the weak minded parents thatare on the brink of giving up the knowledge that it's OK to put yourchild in a home, well it's not. Shame on you. Never give up parents,you will be judged accordingly in heaven. He wouldn't have sent them toyou if he didn't think you could handle it. Stay strong and you will begreatly rewarded. There are several support groups for families,parents and friends of children or adults with Autism. They are veryhelpful and can teach you coping skills. Can I suggest an intensebehavioral program at home for the child. The parent can do this ifthey just learn and it cost them nothing. Teach them in a loving way,never yell at them. I myself have a child with Autism and I get it, Iknow the struggles, I know the sadness and I certainly know how hard itis. But I would never let my child wonder where I was for one second orwhy I left them for someone else to take care of. And yes, I'm a singlemother and have zero help also. Horrible ending to what could have beena movie triumph, if only the mother had been strong enough to say no toeveryone around her and love her child enough to keep her.
This review is from: Fly Away (Amazon Instant Video) Fly Away is truly a beautiful glimpse at the reality that parents of autistic children face every day. It was recommended to me by a parent of an autistic child who said much the same.The performances are incredibly believable, the storyline is LIFE, and although life doesn't always have the story-book, happy ending, it does always end with a breath. So does "Fly Away".I would love to have every person I know watch this, if only to gain more compassion for our fellow humans who seem different.Well done, cast, crew, and Ms. Grillo!
Promoted in large part by Autism Speaks, which receives a portion of all DVD sales and Video on Demand viewing fees, there is no doubt that "Fly Away" will be discovered and embraced by those with a direct connection with autism. However, this brief and matter-of-fact film deserves a wider audience--so hopefully those that champion small independent films will help to build an awareness of this well meaning examination of mother love and sacrifice. The film presents a gritty and realistic look at the challenges that those with severe autism face as well as the repercussions the disease has on their immediate caregivers. And while not perfect--some minor roles are a bit heavy handed and there are a few issues in narrative flow--"Fly Away" is about as realistic as can be at the level of family intimacy and is bolstered by strong lead performances. Janet Grillo's film chronicles an uncomfortable transitional period--when an afflicted girl is no longer a child, yet still maintains a childlike existence. Ashley Rickards plays the burgeoning woman whose frustrations have caused her to increasingly lash out at school and at home. Beth Broderick is a mother whose life is dedicated to her daughter, but who must make some hard choices about the future. When is it time to let go and entrust your child's well-being to others? She has subjugated her own independence and chance at happiness--yet when a new romantic interest as well as a new educational opportunity for Rickards coincide, it just might be time for some serious thought. Broderick wrestles with what would be best for everyone, but there are no easy answers and bright outlooks. Through it all, the film maintains a central realism as opposed to going for overwrought drama--and the choice is quietly effective. Rickards does well capturing the enthusiasm, confusion, and frustration battling for domain over her body and mind. But, in many ways, the film belongs to Broderick. I remember first seeing Broderick in the mid-eighties (yes, I know that dates me) and liking her--and in the next 25 years, she was oftentimes the brightest spot in some pretty dismal entertainment. Finally, she has a role worthy of her. Exceptionally understated, you can always see the gears moving behind her eyes. It's a compelling, thoughtful, and surprisingly introspective performance that might have veered toward melodrama in other hands. All in all, this is both a sweet and sad movie and certainly not without hope. The film might feel incredibly personal if your family has struggled with autism--but there is also much to recommend it for a general audience. KGHarris, 4/11.
This review is from: Fly Away (DVD) The movie "Fly Away"is now available on DVD and I strongly urge you to see it. It is a story that will run you thru the range of emotions and leave you wanting to help. Alas, there seems to be little help for those who are most effected.
A gripping, life-enhancing low-budget little film about the physically and emotionally punishing struggles of a single mother raising an autistic child.
The lead performances are solid, as are the supporting actors, and Grillo is more than competent as a director. But Fly Away could have been stronger if its antiseptic visual style... had been more adventurous.
A defiantly unsentimental look at the complex codependency between a harried single mother and her severely autistic daughter.
For those who prefer inspiration that is applicable to what many would call `the real world,' Fly Away is a much welcomed reminder that the heroes of our day do not bend bars or wear capes. This rare and refreshingly real film presents the stalwart commitment and precarious delicacy requisite to deep, personal relationships. Set in a wildly unfamiliar landscape where the psyches of a dedicated mother and her autistic daughter overlap, we are challenged to take a hard look at love's position on the scale of holding on and letting go. As with all great stories, Fly Away finds genuine and credible ways to navigate the cusp between the miraculous and the mundane. With its uncompromising fidelity to the challenges of raising an autistic child, Fly Away delivers experiences starkly authentic to life. Carefully weaving sorrow and joy into a quiet plot with a voluminous interior, there is nothing excessive or contrived in this complex, psychologically active, yet grounded film. In short, the story carries the grit of life with the kind of hard-earned gracefulness that comes with bearing the weight of honesty and integrity. These dynamics, supported by superb acting-performances by seasoned veterans and new-comers alike, seals the final product with a fifth star.
This review is from: Fly Away (Amazon Instant Video) This was in fact an entertaining film, but as the mother of an Autistic child, this is not quite realalistic. There was a time when people felt it necessary to interject their views constantly out in public but I do not see that anymore. I really only see it amonst the family members. In public I see people trying to be supportive even though they may say the wrong thing. As far as a single parent with an Autistic child, I cannot speak on their behalf as I do have a loving supportive husband that has never once considered leaving me and I do feel blessed for that. I still gave it four stars though because there is accuracy in many ways. Autistc children require things to be a certain way and they are very literal. You cannot promise them something and then not give it to them if they did not accomplish their duty to your specifications. It is best not to promise them anything but waite and reward them when they have accomplished something. Also many Autistic children do scream out in the night. Some do not sleep at all. Many are aggressive and it is very very hard on the parents and I could only imagine what it would be like for the single parent. So yes, this movie had some very accurate moments just not completely accurate moments. Oh and I don't think I would be looking to get married again if my husband were to leave me or die either. My son is very hard to love. It takes someone very special to understand him and I would fear that no one could understand him like his father and I do. So yes, I am sure many single mothers feel their life is about their children
An authentic tale of survival offering insight, hope and wings!
This is such a wonderful film that you will never forget in your life.It's not "Rainman", no big studio film to entertain masses. "Fly away"digs so much deeper into reality. It will touch you so deep inside.The story of Jeanne and her autistic daughter Mandy. It's almostimpossible for the mother to manager her life because she always has totake care of her daughter. Even a love romance with the new neighborlooks impossible and so does work when she loses a deal because Mandydeleted some files on her laptop. Jeanne visits a school for autistickids and has to make the hardest decision in her life: to let Mandy goto live her life and to start living her own life.There are so many intense scenes between mother and daughter. Even whenthey go out eating pizza and just having fun people look at Mandywithout any understanding and tell her mother if she can't handle hershe shouldn't go out with her. One of the most beautiful scenes in thisfilm is when Jeanne already has an car accident because of Mandy'sbehavior during the drive. Jeanne stops the car and starts crying. ThenMandy sings for her "Ladybird", the song Jeanne always sang to herdaughter when she woke up in the middle of the night crying and thenshe also tells her to breath in and breath out like her mother alwaysdid to her.Ashley Richards gives an impressive performance as Mandy. She is sodeep in her role that you just realize in the "Making of" that she isnot really autistic. Beth Broderick plays Jeanne very sensitive andheart-touching. She is a great actress and this is one of her bestparts ever. Both play their roles without makeup and give up allvanity. Beth is such a beauty she even looks great without makeup.In the "Making of" everyone talks about their motivation about thisproject and so we hear that director/writer Janet Grillo has anautistic son and that Beth Broderick's sister works with autisticpersons so that is why this film is so impressive.
This review is from: Fly Away (DVD) I would recommend this for anyone who may want to see the challenges of some families that live with this disorder! Again, all Children with Autism are different and vary on severity. But a definite win in helping put Autism Awareness out there!
This review is from: Fly Away (DVD) would like to tell you how this movie moved and related to me as someone who does not have a child on Spectrum. It is heartfelt, poignant and funny, and relatable to anyone who has ever loved or parented any kind of child with or without special needs. The performers are great and the film is engaging and gripping, and while moving, not a downer. It is easy to watch and entertaining as well as truthful and dramatic. Fly Away
Fly Away's overall success is hampered by its narrow focus and relatively uneventful storyline...
Great acting by actress who played autistic girl. I kept trying to guess if it was a somewhat disabled girl who could ham it up for the camera or an actress. I dared not guess. Brilliant acting.Loved the way the disabled are shown to be more complex, loving,, confused and angry and jofulll than the plain crazed grotesques they can appear to ignorant out-siders. Yet the film does not sink into sentimentality and does not flinch to show she is crazed too. A young cute mentally disabled child is easier to handle and empathise with that an adult one. This film was a sensitive exploration of when this cross- over happens. Moreover it was inclusive from the inside how the disabled get stressed out by this too. Not to be mis-interpreted but people who try to adopt chimps run into the same problem. I seem to have seen more media coverage on fostered chimps than the dilemma of the disabled and their parents. Riverting and interesting throughout.Top marks for alluding at the end of the film to the premise that like the elderley the mentally disabled can and do fulfill mutually sexual needs to express affection. Even if its in their own way.See "Vengo" to catch a flamenco movie with a mentally disabled actor giving a great performance in one of the leading roles.
A showcase for Beth Broderick as the mom, Greg Germann as a charming neighbor who flirts with her and a fully immersed Ashley Rickards as the tantrum-prone teen, who appears to be on the intellectual plane of a 2-year-old.
[Fly Away offers] exceptional performances by two femme leads and sensitive but unsentimental storytelling throughout.
Ashley Rickards is amazing and I need to say no more than the critics of both the New York Observer, Rex Reed and the Huffington Post:Fly Away is Heartbreaking, if Hallmark-yFly Away is a gripping, life-enhancing low-budget little film about the physically and emotionally punishing struggles of a single mother raising an autistic child. The actors are so exemplary that it is difficult to imagine this is not a documentary. They might not be household names, but they will be. Jeanne (played by the excellent Beth Broderick) has sacrificed almost every aspect of her own life, devoting herself to her handicapped daughter, Mandy (the remarkable Ashley Rickards, from the TV show One Tree Hill), who is now 16 and scarcely able to brush her own teeth. Constantly suspended from her school for special needs because she's a danger to herself and the other children, she is also big enough to become a threat to her mother, sometimes shutting down completely but more often flying into howling rages that leave Jeanne covered with bruises. Trying to be a caring parent and still eke out a living working at home on a laptop, which Mandy attacks like a used toy, Jeanne is sometimes relieved of her duties by her ex-husband, Pete, who can't deal with parenting a disabled child at all, and whose visits always end in disaster. Jeanne has had so little time for herself that she hasn't felt the touch of a human hand in years. Along comes Tom (Greg Germann), a new neighbor with a rescue dog who develops a fondness for Jeanne and a special relationship with Mandy, too. Tom is too good to be true, but his attempts to bring love to Jeanne's lonely life are met with a rejection that drives him away. Well-meaning teachers and friends recommend Mandy be institutionalized, but Jeanne adamantly resists any decision that could separate her from the child she loves. The sword has a double edge.Making an auspicious feature-film debut, triple-threat producer-writer-director Janet Grillo manages the difficult job of taking a wrenching social issue from the pages of real life and turning it into a genuinely likable, often humorous and completely absorbing movie. Still, you get the fits, the screams in the middle of the night, the staccato giggles eating tutti-fruiti cereal (the only food Mandy will touch), the endless battle to balance schooling needs with the medical requirements to keep Mandy alive on a fixed income. With all good intentions, the depression is inevitable. This is no fault of the actors. As the saintly mother, Ms. Broderick is natural as breathing. Mr. Germann is winningly affable, charming and welcome as the kind and generous outsider who offers compassion without condescension. And Ms. Rickards, as the dominating, domineering child, gives a three-dimensional performance that must be experienced to be believed. The way all of these sensitive characters bond is touching and very well written, and the acting is first-rate; Fly Away is a glowing tribute to human survival. Unfortunately, I fear it might be too heartbreaking to generate much interest from a general audience seeking entertainment.Eventually, life forces Jeanne to confront the problem of how to make the right choices for Mandy's future-to put her away and save both their lives, or hold on and go down the drain together. Sometimes the truest, most affirmative love one person can offer another is letting go. As admirable as it all is, Fly Away still seems like a Movie of the Week, or one of those "worthy" specials on Hallmark Hall of Fame, which has dealt with the same issue before. Still, this is a movie worth seeing, if for no other reason than the dramatic intensity Ms. Rickards brings to her character. In a class by herself, she deserves, at the very least, an Oscar nomination. Not since Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker has any actor portrayed a handicapped child (especially one with autism) with the same depth of passion and realism. Her emotional range seems to know no limits. She's more heartbreaking than the movie itself, and that is very high praise email@example.comHuffington Post Review: An Absorbing Film About AutismTUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011 AT 08:44PMJoseph SmigelskiCollege English Instructor in Northern CaliforniaFly Away: An Absorbing Film About AutismPosted: 04/12/11 06:18 PM ETMany people may want to shy away from seeing this film, but that is exactly why they should see it. What the world needs now, besides love sweet love, is empathy. Too many of us are so caught up in our own needs and desires that we sometimes cannot even see anyone else, let alone sympathize; and that is just one facet of life that is explored with great diligence in Fly Away, an independent narrative feature from writer, producer, and director Janet Grillo.The best thing a serious, no-nonsense movie can do is give us a glimpse into the world of someone whose experiences are so far away from our own that they are difficult for us to even imagine. Fly Away is an intimate story about a divorced mother with a 16-year-old autistic daughter, and although it is set in a quiet suburban neighborhood, it has -- in its own way -- as many twists and turns as a good thriller. If I may borrow the words of one of its characters, Fly Away "really knows how to throw a punch."What is remarkable about this movie is its pacing. It has a rhythm to it, like a symphony. It's at times loud, soft, beguiling, and boisterous. Its many melodic lines intertwine in almost perfect harmony. I say "almost" because, otherwise, the film might have approached being maudlin, and it is anything but that. It is hard, tough, and as we follow Jeanne, the mother played by Beth Broderick, through her suffocating environment, we are able to balance our lives against hers because she is so much like most of us. She is more like a real person than a fictional character, and therefore a rarity in movies nowadays.Jeanne is multidimensional in a very real, down to earth sense: the many facets of her life converge upon her from all quarters. Besides being the mother of a severely autistic child, a full-time responsibility in itself, she is also trying to run a consulting business of sorts with a less-than-fully-sympathetic partner; she is in a perpetual struggle with the principal of her daughter's "special" school; and she must constantly battle with her ex-husband, who cannot handle being with their daughter and so is reluctant to help, even when Jeanne needs him most.Broderick plays Jeanne with a lost look on her face. She is overwhelmed by her circumstances, but is determined to persevere. One day, when her ex does take Mandy for an afternoon, he advises her to use her free time to get her hair done, as if she doesn't have anything better to do. She goes back into her house, looks appraisingly in the mirror, sees that she is still an attractive woman, but then realizes, sadly, that it doesn't really matter anymore. It is a sublime 30 seconds of acting, the kind of moment sometimes overlooked in films, but striking if noticed.In stark counterpoint to Jeanne is Mandy, the autistic daughter who is not like most of us. Mandy is played by Ashley Rickards, a young lady who should win an Academy Award for best supporting actress. She is that convincing. Her performance is both frightening and wonderful. Director Grillo lets us take small steps into Mandy's world by juxtaposing scenes of bright color with scenes of dreary darkness. We see Mandy on a sunny morning, drawing with brilliantly colored crayons at the kitchen table, and then we see her in the middle of the night in her darkened bedroom screaming about what a bad person she is. Mandy's life seems to be one of extremes. Her shining exuberance is often a heartbeat away from dark violence. Broderick and Rickards hit all the notes perfectly. Their duet is really something to see.To complicate the lives of Jeanne and Mandy even more, a new neighbor enters the scene, a man around Jeanne's age who seems almost too good to be true. This intriguing yet suspiciously jolly white knight is played to perfection by Greg Germann, who brings just the right amount of ambiguity to the role (something that Germann is always particularly good at, by the way). We struggle along with Jeanne to try to figure him out while stepping very carefully. At one point Jeanne asks him why he doesn't try to date a woman who is not in her particular situation, and as he stands nonplussed, we -- right in step with her -- wonder what his answer can possibly be.After many changes in key, when the symphony that is this film comes to a close, we see that Jeanne may be about to face her biggest challenge yet. An ending can be seen as a new beginning, and this film leaves me hoping for a sequel.Fly Away opens in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, on Friday, April 15. And it will be available on VOD, DVD, and Digital on Tuesday, April 26.