Jun 24, 2012, 07:42

The usage of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s song “10,000 Miles” in the film Fly Away Home was cited on a forum I found as one the best “uses of a single song to accompany a film scene”. I’d have to agree .

At almost six minutes in length, the music sequence at the end of the movie stands on its own as a full length music video, but it’s important to appreciate the context in which director Caroll Ballard placed this song in the storyline. A 14-year-old girl (played by Anna Paquin) has just a few minutes left to land her aircraft in a specific patch of North Carolina wetlands before they become the official property of a land developer diametrically opposed to the flock of geese following her there (*CLAIMED UNDER FAIR USE):

At the end of the movie, the girl’s father and co-pilot (played by Jeff Daniels) has sustained an injury and can’t help his daughter navigate. Also, her week-long journey has captured  the media spotlight and become a hot button issue for the environmentalists. With all that story tension, a lesser director may have deployed some intense music and a 30 second montage of shots that culminate in the aircraft safely landing.

Instead, Ballard slows the film’s pulse WAY down and takes her time with this beautiful song and a series of breathtaking aerial shots that run for a full three minutes. By Hollywood standards that’s too much time and it detracts from the story tension…..but somehow it really works. In a good way.

Of course, Paquin’s character safely lands and everyone cheers. But that occurrence almost seems overshadowed by the profundity of the final music sequence.

Great stuff. Watch this film with your kids.


Mike Bielenberg is a professional musician and co-founder of http://www.musicrevolution.com, a production music marketplace with over 17,000 tracks online where media producers, video producers, filmmakers, game developers, businesses and other music buyers can license high-quality, affordable royalty-free music from an online community of musicians mbielenberg@musicrevolution.com.

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