Fly [1986]

Saddened by the untimely death of their father and husband, a family moves to a new town and confronts the usual--bullies, demanding new job--and the unusual: an autistic neighbor boy who believes he can fly. Bonnie Bedelia is the stressed-out mom, and Bedelia-look-alike Lucy Deakins plays the perceptive daughter who braves ridicule to reach out to the boy under the tutelage of wise teacher Colleen Dewhurst. This earnest film's melancholy is tempered by its fantastical ending and the fun of seeing a pre-Wonder Years Fred Savage as the soldier-obsessed little brother, not to mention one of the future denizens of Beverly Hills 90210 (Jason Priestley). Parents may wax nostalgic over early '80s fashions and may take delight in appearances by Mr. Munster (Fred Gwynne) as an alcoholic with self-knowledge, Facts of Life gal Mindy Cohn as a chatty neighbor, and Louise Fletcher playing a kindly psychologist. Slow pacing and heavy dollops of tragedy make this most appropriate for ages 8 and up. --Kimberly Heinrichs

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