Tomorrow night HBO will premier the film Temple Grandin:
Starring Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, Catherine O’Hara, and David Strathairn Temple Grandin paints a picture of a young woman’s perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism at a time when it was still quite unknown.
The film is based on two of Grandin’s books about autism, Emergence: Labeled Autistic (written with Margaret Scariano) and Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism. Given the typical Hollywood treatment of autism (Rain Man, anyone), I had my doubts – fears, maybe – about how this story would be told. A review of the film in yesterday’s The Atlantic has helped to alleviate those concerns:
Stereotypical characters with autism are a convenient and powerful device for convincing neurotypical people to mend their ways, or for demonstrating the saintliness of the people who put up with them. These cinematic conceits make HBO’s Temple Grandin, a biopic of the acclaimed animal scientist and autism advocate (to premier on HBO on February 6 at 8 p.m.), particularly remarkable. From the life of one of the best-known individuals with an autism spectrum disorder, director Mick Jackson has managed to make an utterly original movie about autism, simply by allowing Grandin, portrayed in a stunning performance by Claire Danes, to be the center of her own story.
If you are at all involved in the “autism community”, I know that you will probably be checking out this film. If you are not involved with, or even familiar with, autism, I encourage you to watch this film with an open mind. It may just help you understand the sentiment that those with autism are different, but not less, and are most definitely not broken.
5 thoughts on “Different, not less (or broken)”
Great to have Grandin having narrative agency in here.
Did you enjoy the movie? What did you think of it?
I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. It is on the DVR waiting for me, hopefully I can watch it this evening. All depends on how exciting the Super Bowl turns out to be (or not).
I’ve watched the movie 3 times this month, and absolutely love it! And “Different, not less” has gone through my mind at least once a day since I first watched it a couple weeks ago!
Watched it twice- actually planning on watching a 3rd time.
The message that resonates throughout is “different, not less.”
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