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Fly Away

27 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Apr 26, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A powerful film directed by Emmy Award® winner Janet Grillo (Autism: The Musical), FLY AWAY narrates the story of Jeanne (Beth Broderick, Bonfire of the Vanities, Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and her autistic teenage daughter, Mandy (Ashley Rickards, One Tree Hill). Jeanne has cared for Mandy since the day she was born, growing closer every day to a child who is charmingly offbeat one moment and nearly impossible to manage the next. In the dog park, Jeanne encounters Tom (Greg Germann, Ally McBeal, Friends with Money), an easygoing and accepting neighbor who sparks a romantic interest, but she finds juggling Mandy s care and her own career leaves little room for a new man. As the pressures of work and her child s needs increase, she must decide whether or not to enroll Mandy in a therapeutic residential facility. Over the course of a few weeks, Jeanne is confronted with the most difficult decision a parent can make: to let go, allowing her child to grow, but also grow apart; or to hold on tight and fall together.

10% of proceeds from DVD sales benefits Autism Speaks

Bonus Features: A conversation with the filmmakers of FLY AWAY; Autism Speaks: It s Time to Listen (Music Video); Companion guide with information on autism spectrum disorders


Mandy is played by Ashley Rickards, a young lady who should win an Academy Award for best supporting actress. She is that convincing... Broderick and Rickards hit all the notes perfectly. Their duet is really something to see. --Huffington Post

The lovely, heartbreaking FLY AWAY benefits from superb performances and a gripping story managed with simplicity and grace by writer-producer-director Janet Grillo. --Los Angeles Times

It's a stimulating sense of realism that helps to shape a raw, compassionate portrait of life lived with the disorder, finding pauses of behavior and response that shock and enlighten. It's not an easy film to watch, but it's a picture of immense importance, capturing an intimate state of mind few are allowed to visit. --DVD Talk

Product Details

  • Actors: Greg Germann, Ashley Rickards, Beth Broderick, Janet Grillo
  • Directors: Janet Grillo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Flatiron Film Company
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2011
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004HJ0ZS2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,357 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Saki on March 31, 2011
Format: DVD
I saw this at the SXSW film festival, and am getting in line here to preorder a copy. Beautiful, subtle performances by both female leads, even when yelling their heads off. I sort of expected one of those Lifetime "Heroic Mom withstands dire circumstances and in the end her Love Conquers All" things. You know, where the disabled child is nothing more than a way for the scriptwriter to illustrate how great Mom is?

Not so. The girl who played the autistic daughter (the actress is not autistic) wasn't just a collection of tics and screams: she was a complex person, and we got to see her that way. Really well done!
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Format: DVD
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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By akorn on May 11, 2011
Format: DVD
Absolutely excellent. Not sappy but gritty and realistic , this movie gives a strong sense of what it is like to live with autism. The actors are so believable, one is left wondering if the actress who plays Mandy truly does have autism. Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Craig Deininger on June 2, 2012
Format: DVD
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.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By movie buff on June 19, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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-y
Fly 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.
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