NYT Praises Fly Away (Grillo ’80) for ‘Commendable Subtlety’

Janet Grillo ’80

The recently released indie film, Fly Away, written and directed by Janet Grillo ’80, explores the question every parent faces—how to learn to let go when the child becomes a teen. However, Grillo ups the emotional ante: Jeanne (Beth Broderick) is a single mother, and her daughter, Mandy (Ashley Rickards) is severely autistic. As Grillo begins the film, it becomes clear that all the coping strategies, all the interventions that Jeanne had developed for Mandy when she was a child, are no longer effective.

Released in mid-April, the film had its world premier in mid-March at the prestigious South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival. An April 15 review in The New York Times by Jeanette Catsoulis praises the film for “treading warily into territory that few dramas dare explore.”

Catsoulis continues: “Fly Away faces some harsh realities with commendable subtlety. Without overplaying her hand or taking cheap emotional shots, the writer and director, Janet Grillo, examines the assumption that home is always the best environment. As Mandy matures and her aggressive behavior—as well as a growing interest in the opposite sex—becomes more difficult to manage, the film is attentive to the emotional damage sustained by parents who refuse to accept that love may not be enough.”

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