Charlene Michaelson, her two children - teen-aged Amelia 'Milly' Michaelson and precocious adolescent Louis Michaelson - and their dog Max move into a new house in a new neighborhood after the passing of Charlene's husband/the kids' father, Donald Michaelson. Beyond life without Donald, they are all nervous about starting a new life, which, for Charlene, means getting back into the workforce after thirteen years. Milly quickly settles into the neighborhood if only because she becomes fascinated with their next door neighbor, teen-aged Eric Gibb, who authorities believe is autistic. Orphaned Eric has never spoken a word, and without having been told about the incident, began to think he could fly at the exact moment his parents died in a plane crash. Many believe Eric's belief is because he felt he could thus save his parents. Eric's guardian is his dipsomaniac Uncle Hugo Gibb. Milly's high school teacher, Mrs. Carolyn Sherman, who used to be a special needs teacher, looks after Eric ... Written by
In one scene Fred Savage plays the "Last Starfighter" video game from the 1984 film, also directed by director Nick Castle. See more »
Cables holding Eric can visibly be seen as he and Millie are falling off the roof of the school before they crash into Millie's mom. See more »
I found out about the boy next door. His name's Eric Gibb. They think he's autistic.
He's got some marbles loose, or what?
Well, they don't exactly know, but he's never spoken a word in his life and he doesn't like being around people. There's some institute that wants to come and take him away, but Mrs. Sherman says he's better off with his uncle. He's in my class at school. Mrs. Sherman, she used to teach those kinds of kids. She thinks that maybe being around normal people will help him, or ...
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In an atmosphere of fantasy, the movie explores several real human issues. The story centers on a mother (Bonnie Bedelia), her young teenage daughter (Lucy Deakins), and her pre-teen son (Fred Savage) as they struggle to cope after the beloved father's sudden passing. Their grief is intensified by the manner of his death and their almost immediately having to adjust to a new life, a new home, a new neighborhood, and for the kids, a new school and new friends. Into this mix enters Eric (Jay Underwood), the apparently autistic teenage boy next door, who is coping with demons of his own as a result of his parents' sudden death in an airplane crash. So grief is involved, and adjustment, and trying to fit in, and acceptance of human differences, and courage, and love - love within a family group and among people, as well as real boy/girl love. Writer-director Nick Castle deals with these issues with respectful sensitivity, as does the excellent ensemble cast of Lucy Deakins, Jay Underwood, Bonnie Bedelia, Fred Savage, Colleen Dewhurst, Fred Gwynne, and Mindy Cohn. That fantasy might be important to plot movement shouldn't be surprising, considering the movie's title. However, whether that fantasy is allegorical or real, or both, is in the eyes of the beholder. In any case, it's a warm and poignant tale, and it deserves a high place in the literature of motion pictures.
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