Very occasionally a kids' film bases itself on old-fashioned moviemaking skills, classic story¬telling and simple emotions, and comes up trumps.
With the children's market shattering into so many sub-categories it is less likely, one supposes, that films like this will get the go-ahead. Which is a big shame. Anna Paquin, Oscar-winner at 12 with The Piano, plays Amy Alden, a girl sent to live with her dad (Daniels) in Ontario after her mother is killed. She's withdrawn, he's hopeless, and his girlfriend (Delaney) is slightly more menacing than Cruella De Vil in young Amy's eyes.
Things change, however, when she finds some Canada Goose eggs and raises the young birds as her own, realising that, because she was the first living thing they clapped eyes on, they see her as their mum. Her dad is, naturally, an eccentric inventor, and when the time comes for the geese to migrate, he builds a couple of flying machines and shows them the way. It sounds appalling.
But there is a wonderful lack of mawkishness in this movie, a feeling of the real world and real people, heftily aided by, frankly, brilliant performances by Daniels and Paquin. It's largely about coming to terms with loss and conquering the fear of the future, but if that makes it sound a bit grim, be assured it's not.