I’m not sure just how many people have seen the movie The Boy Who Could Fly, but if you have, I can assure that there is no happy ending.
The movie was in fact based on a true story. No one questioned the fact that it wasn’t based on a true story, since the boy, Eric Gibb, could fly.
The entire story was brought together from recollections from Louis Deakin's memory. Louis Deakin was Amelia Deakin's younger brother, who as an adult, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia.
Before we get into how the story came to be, let’s get to know about some of the characters from the movie.
Milly was an average girl, she loved to help people and loved making everyone happy. Not many people disliked Milly, and if they did, they were not shown in the movie very often.
Milly befriended and helped take care of an autistic boy, Eric Gibb. Eric had never had many friends, though he was very happy as a child. His parents loved him very much, and he was rarely unhappy in his younger years.
Eric’s parents, one day, were going on a vacation for the two of them to Italy; Eric was left to stay with his uncle, Hugo Gwynne.
Eric, being autistic, would never speak or show any emotion around anyone but his parents. The night that Eric’s parents were on their flight to Italy, an unsuspected thunder storm arose. The plane was struck by lightning, and crashed into the ocean.
The plane was eventually recovered weeks later, but there were no survivors to be found.
Somehow, as the plane was going down, Eric knew. As soon as it was struck by lightning, he began mimicking the motion of an airplane, in an attempt to save his parents. Of course, it didn’t work, but from that day forward, Eric would mimic an airplane out on his uncle’s window sill.
Now for some reality, as the story shows, everyone loved Milly. But in reality, no one really spoke to her. She had no friends at all when she moved into town, and didn't gain any until the day she passed away, besides Eric. Geneva, Milly’s friend in the movie, was added into the story to make it a tad more interesting for the viewers. Milly was suffering in a deep depression, due to the loss of her father who had committed suicide just months earlier. Milly’s mother was an alcoholic, and would have Milly do all of the work around their new house. In the movie, Milly’s mother was struggling to move up in her workplace, but in reality, she was never looking for work. Their two story house was purchased with the money the family collected from an insurance agency after the father had killed himself.
Louis was around the age of 8 or 9 when they moved into the house. He had known of his father’s passing, but the family had reassured him that he passed away from a fatal disease. Louis dealt with the situation differently from the rest of the family. He planned to join the army when he grew old enough, and for the time being, he would act out acts of violence with his toys. His mother thought he was just playing, but Louis was deeply troubled as a child.
Now back to the movie itself. In a scene near the end, Eric and Milly are seen running from two police officers inside of their school, to keep Eric from getting sent back into a mental institution. They arrive at the roof, and at this point they have nowhere to run to. They run to the edge of the building, and they both look over the edge. Milly already believes that Eric could in fact fly, because of a dream she had in a hospital after suffering from a concussion. Milly asks Eric if he could fly, and Eric responds with a nod of the head.
What Eric was thinking, though, was that death was better than being locked up in a hospital. Eric was in love with Milly, and he didn’t want her to suffer the loss of her one and only friend. So, Eric reassures Milly that he can fly, and they jump.
From there on out in the movie, it was all Fox movie magic. They added in Eric and Milly flying to Eric’s house and Eric flying off into the distance. Fox added everyone learning from Eric, and everyone moving on with their lives.
When Eric and Milly hit the ground, in reality, Milly was instantly killed. Eric suffered serious head trauma and internal bleeding. He had a shattered skull, a broken leg, arm, and several shattered bones in various other places. Doctors kept him alive as long as they could, but he passed away 2 days later.
In the movie, Milly’s mother successfully moves up in her job, and Louis stands up to the bully’s around the corner. Eric’s uncle sobers up, and gets a job.
Milly’s mother actually went into a deeper depression, and started abusing heroin and cocaine. She would beat Louis mercilessly until he ran away with his pet dog, only to return after she was asleep so he may sleep in his room.
One day, Louis’ mother came home from purchasing alcohol, and left their front door open. She spotted Louis, and started beating him with an old bottle. Louis’ dog ran in to protect the boy from harm, but the mother smashed its head in with the bottle. Their dog died later that night when it was chained up outside.
When the movie shows Eric’s uncle sobering up and getting a job, he was actually doing quite the opposite. Like Milly’s mother, he went into a deep depression from the loss of his nephew, and drank himself into a coma. The police found his body 2 months later after driving by and noticing the rancid smell of death on the block. They opened the door, only to find the remains of Hugo and empty bottles of liquor all over the floor.
After Louis reached the age of 13, he had developed extreme mental disorders. His mother would still abuse him, but he was gone for most of the day. When we would go around the block, the bullies would torment him until he got away. In the movie, Louis stands up to them by going around the block. In reality, Louis murdered each of them. He stabbed the first 3 to death with an old kitchen knife from his house, and shot the last one with a semi-automatic pistol he had stolen from Eric’s house. Which is why, in the movie, he shoots him in the face with a water-gun full of urine.
After killing each one, he sliced open their stomachs, and dragged their entrails as far as they would go. All of them together had enough to make it a full block. Louis was pleased. He sat on the corner, with the remains of the bullies in his hands. The police were shortly notified after the gunshots were heard, but did not respond fast enough to stop the gruesome acts that occurred afterwards. They arrested the child and sent him to a juvenile detention center, where he grew older.
His mother, without having anyone else to take her pain out on, took it out on herself. She hung herself 4 days after being notified of Louis’ arrest.
Louis was 25, and was being held in a high security prison somewhere in Ohio.
An inmate in the prison would overhear Louis talking to himself, and wrote to his mother in California. He wrote about the things that Louis talked about all day, and how horrifying they were to him.
The inmate committed suicide after being next to Louis’ room for 2 years, because he would hear Louis threatening to torture the inmate if he ever got the chance.
Somehow, Lorimar Productions came to have the papers the inmate sent to his mother, and created a movie out of it. They teamed up with Fox, and produced the movie, entitled, The Boy Who Could Fly.