Fly Away

Year: 2011
Production Co: Ministry of Content
Director: Janet Grillo
Writer: Janet Grillo
Cast: Beth Broderick, Ashley Rickards

This doco-style drama about a single mother and her struggles to bring up a teenage girl suffering from severe autism is a movie more to endure and admire than enjoy. Jeanne's (Broderick) plight is heartbreaking as she tries to handle Mandy (Rickards), a handful at the best of times, manage the household herself and run a demanding business that has no time for her domestic dramas.

Despite everything, she's is determined not to put Mandy away in a special school, but she's fraying around the edges taking Mandy for walks with the dog in the park, having to get up in the middle of the night to sing to her, and deal with the handsome stranger who seems to take an interest in her.

It's a sad and sincere film that's full of hope and love despite itself. You can see the joins in the performances and script at times but Ashley Rickards throws herself into the role of Mandy with unalloyed enthusiasm, contorting her body and face to give the outward signs of Mandy's mental illness.

It's a little film that tries hard, has something to say, doesn't quite get all the way there at times and which many will reject as depressing because of its subject matter.

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