‘The Man Who Wanted to Fly’ follows two 80-something year old brothers living a quiet life in Cavan. One of the pair, Bobby Coote, dreams of taking to the sky. His brother Ernie thinks it’s a daft notion and that Bobby is much too old to be flying.
The dream that is at the heart of ‘The Man Who Wanted to Fly’ is so pure and beautiful that you can’t help but be touched. As you watch the film, you’ll also be won over by Ernie and Bobby’s sweet, bright, but distinct personalities. The film is punctuated by lovely humorous moments, even in something as simple as Bobby getting a thrill riding a scooter down the road, which make for a winsome and very nice viewing experience overall.
Bobby Botte leads a unique life. He fixes and builds clocks and fiddles, and he and Ernie reflect on their pasts, such as their school days and why neither of them married. Bobby doesn’t see age as a factor to wanting to fly, and we see the slow realisation of his dream as he goes from longingly watching an air show, to researching aircrafts, to buying his own, to organising repairs for it. Along the way, he meets various individuals of interest, most notably his knowledgeable neighbour Sean McBride and wife Mary, who has a thing or two to say about this flying business.
The documentary thus provides a charming depiction of the eccentricities of Irish rural life and its community. Admittedly, the Cavan accents can be a bit thick so subtitles might’ve proven beneficial. But fair dues ought to be given to the film for its realistic portrayal of brotherhood. Ernie isn’t very encouraging of Bobby, and you can see the tension between the two (they don’t even spend Christmas together), which feels genuine. In fact everything about the movie feels real, and it’s all just very easy-going and feel-good.
Just before its emotional conclusion, the doc does lose a little pacing. One feels that it might have worked better as a TV special and hopes that if it doesn’t find an audience on the big screen, it’ll make its way to the telly and find an appreciative audience there.
If you are in need of a charming little movie to raise your spirits though, ‘The Man Who Wanted to Fly’ is just the ticket. We guarantee you'll be beaming by the end of it.