One of the reasons I was sucked into this wonderful family movie was the photography. It is National Geographic quality. In fact I was so impressed with the cinematography that I had to look up who did it: Caleb Deschanel. The setting, a farm in Southern Ontario, allowed him to become intimate with the geese and the natural setting. Another reason I couldn't stop watching the movie was the stunning performance by Anna Paquin, the 16-year old girl who played Amy. I remembered her from the movie, 'Piano.' She played Flora, the daughter of Holly Hunter. I'm sure they picked Paquin to do that part because of her speaking ability. Holly Hunter played the part of Ada, a woman who couldn't talk. She communicated with sign language through her daughter. Paquin was so good in her part that she won the Oscar, quite a feat for an 11-year old.
The story, 'Fly Away Home' is touching because she's not the kind of Hollywood-trained child actor you find in most movies. A surprising thing happened as I watched Amy and her geese. I could sense a startling serenity from her as the bond had developed between them. I wondered how she could manage that. She was only a 16-year old actress then but she conveyed a mothering instinct that goes back to the ageless beginnings of life on this planet. When the goslings were following her around, much of the photography was from ground level. Later when they were all flying, the photography was right there in the flying formation. You were seeing the birds, in flight, right next to you. The beauty of motion was unbelievable. I thought, 'How could anyone shoot these creatures?' There is beauty in seeing them fly. There is beauty in seeing them in their habitat. But the overwhelming beauty is in their living. They deserved that life. It made me think of this sad planet and the billions of creatures that have died because of the human race. Here was a story that went against the slaughter. When Amy and her birds arrived at their destination in Chesapeake Bay I had misty eyes.
So I'm a soft touch.