Paper Planes is a charming Australian film about an 11 year old’s fascination with flying, which leads him to enter the world of Paper Plane competitions.
Dylan, played by Ed Oxenbould, is not having the best time – being bullied at school for not having a smart phone and using some kind of basic Nokia from 10 years ago. ( I was cheering not that quietly at this point, sorry my kids, but no you cannot take an i-phone to school!) More seriously, it soon becomes apparent that his impossibly beautiful mother has died leaving his father ( the equally lovely Sam Worthington) in so much grief he is barely able to function, let alone take care of his son.
Dylan is clearly interested in flying – he feeds local birds of prey and watches them soar above him and his grandfather was a wartime pilot, who still wears his uniform, and regularly breaks into the local airplane museum to get back behind the wheel! So when a visitor to the school shows the children how to make paper planes, it is not surprising that Dylan proves to be a natural. So much so, that his plane flies round corners , out of the school door and across fields as the children and teachers chase after it. There is a lot of willing suspension of disbelief in the film, but it is such a simple idea, it is easy to go with it.
Dylan enters the local competition and meets and falls for Kimi the very emotionally astute Japanese champion. Naturally there is an evil rival, the son of a famous and wealthy golf champion – his much nicer dad is played by David Wenham (Lord of the Rings) . And there is a journey ahead not only for Dylan of course, but his former tormentor at school who becomes his first “mate”, his dad and eventually even the mean spirited rival.
I particularly enjoyed the fact the film was not American or European – and we in the UK were given a new perspective, on Australia, seeing the country from the inside and on Japan, where the finals of the championship are held. Yes, it’s a little sentimental at times – but the idea that you can have that much fun with nothing more than a piece of paper is a lesson I’m sure many parents would LOVE their children to learn! May origami and paper plane making be the new cool pastime that takes over from computer games! I know. In my dreams! But this half term, I am going to try.
Paper Planes opens on October 23