SXSW Review: Fly Away


Director:Janet Grillo

Cast:Beth Broderick, Greg Germann, JR Bourne, Ashley Rickards

Running Time:85 Minutes


Taking care of another person can be difficult on any given day.
When you have an autistic daughter who everyone says belongs in a special home,
life is almost unmanageable. Fly Away captures
a remarkable relationship between a mother and daughter and their delicate
dance through life.

Jeanne has a teenage daughter named Mandy. The only thing that
sets Mandy apart from other girls her age is her autism. As a consultant Jeanne
can work from home, but even that proves to be a task with Mandy around. With
an undying love for her daughter, Jeanne wouldn't imagine sending her away. But
as the days unfold it becomes clear that what Jeanne wants may not be in the
best interest of her daughter.

Beth Broderick is memorable in her role as Jeanne. Best known for
her work as Aunt Zelda in Sabrina the
Teenage Witch, Beth proves her talent as an actor in Fly Away.  All the
same, the entire cast played their parts equally well.  Ashley Rickards plays Mandy in an almost
heartbreaking fashion, perfectly giving the autism girl the depth she deserves.

The film didn't take many risks in it's storytelling, but that
actually allowed the simple story to grow. The film stuck to its mission and
succeeded in capturing the emotions it needed. I felt empathy for each
character as I watched their story unfold, which helped Fly Away sustain my attention.

Fly Away gives the audience an honest story and
allows them to fill in the blanks with their own emotions. It trusts its actors
to perform how they want to and Beth Broderick is especially mesmerizing. I
appreciated all that the film achieved and walked away pleased with the experience
it had provided me.


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