MIFF Review: Paper Planes

Blogged by: Review by Filmme Fatales contributor Ariel Katz 11 Aug 2014 View comments
‘Paper Planes’ stars Sam Worthington and talented newcomer Ed Oxenbould in a magical story that follows a young boy on his adventure from the Australian outback all the way to the world paper plane championships in Japan. 



It's the latest film from writer/director Robert Connolly (‘Tim Winton’s The Turning’, ‘Underground: The Julian Assange Story’), inspired in part by true events alongside Connolly’s want for his kids to have the opportunity to see an Australian hero on the silver screen.
 
‘Paper Planes’ tells the story of 12-year-old Dylan (Oxenbould), who's being brought up by his father, Jack (Worthington), in a remote town in country Australia. From the opening scene where we see him passed out in the living room, Jack's character is clearly one in the throes of grief.
 
Depression has got its hooks into Jack; dealing with the recent loss of his wife he's become despondent, monosyllabic, and his tracksuit pants are his uniform. He sits at home on the couch, refusing to go back to work, instead choosing to stare blankly at VHS highlights of Australia's past sporting glory, while Dylan is left to organise himself.
 
That's until one day at school when Dylan discovers he's got a knack for making and flying paper planes. As he learns how to hone and develop his newfound skill, Dylan simultaneously finds himself caught up in the world of competitive paper plane-making, which sets him on an international adventure and leads to new friendships, fierce rivalries, and importantly, revelations about his own family.
 


‘Paper Planes’ is much more than a story of winners and losers. It's about how you play the game, and more than anything else it's about sticking with people in spite of their weaknesses.
 
Deborah Mailman, David Wenham, Terry Norris, and Peter Rowsthorn add plenty of credibility and comedic timing in their supporting roles, but it's Dylan who's the big star here. Having already starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s newest and worked with Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner in Disney's ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’, he seems set to be Australia's next big export.
 
This is a beautifully shot and scripted film that's not just about learning how to fly, but about how to be the wind beneath others' wings, too. Heartwarming and fun, this is a touching, family-friendly film that's about much more than simply folding an aerodynamic piece of paper; it's about friendship, rivalry, family and dealing with loss.
 
Paper Planes proves that with a little bit of encouragement we can make something pretty special of ourselves. It's an excellent message, and a terrific new Australian film that you should take the whole family to.
 
 

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