Hank: Ron Suskind is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist whose son, Owen, developed autism at the age of 3. For years, Owen didn’t say a word, until one day he broke from his silence by repeating a line from “The Little Mermaid.” “Life, Animated” is a sweet, inspiring documentary about a boy who sank into an abyss of isolation, but emerged thanks to the magic of Disney movies.
Beatricia: Good recommendation, Hanky. A fine, compassionate look at the life of a remarkable young man and his supportive, even more remarkable parents. It was particularly inspiring to see Owen making his own steps into independence, considering how many supposedly normal young people can barely wipe their own keisters without detailed instructions…
Grandpa Felicius: In my day we didn’t know Aspergers from Asparagus. We just had a village idiot and fed him bread crumbs when we were in a good mood. And that village idiot grew up to be Walt Disney. I suppose things have improved somewhat in that regard. A fine true-to-life pictorial.
Trent: Look, Tracey, they made a movie about a retard who’s way too much into Disney movies. How does it feel to be famous?
Tracey: How does it feel to know there’s a whole circle in Hell reserved for people like you?
Trent: A whole ENTIRE circle? Hallellujah! HASHTAG BLESSED!
Tracey: ANYWAY. Obviously “Life, Animated” is to be commended for the empathetic look at people living in the spectrum, but I couldn’t help noticing that if Owen didn’t come from such a privileged white family, who could afford the best in medical care and cognitive behavior therapy and assisted living and the rest of it, there would have been no spotlight on his breakthrough. Where are the documentaries about autistic men and women of less privileged backgrounds, huh? Make a search on Google for movies about Asperger’s and all you will find is pictures of little white boys.
Cousin Franz: Beneath the literal documentation of the life of one autistic young man, I find an alarming description of our entire society. After all, how different are you or me from Owen? We all are constantly exposed to Disney movies, and Hollywood movies in general, and we too regurgitate their cartoony platitudes as though they were genuinely complex philosophies. We all pass simplistic memes back and forth as a communication shortcut, but it’s just an advanced form of echolalia, and it get us no closer to interpreting reality accurately. There are no mermaids, or beasts, or wise lions kings, or conniving parrots voiced by Gilbert Gottfried and named after Shakespearean villains. Disney-ism as a secular religion is a fact of life among many American families, and one that shouldn’t be accepted unquestioningly. It also seems to me that if the autism spectrum is stretched just a little more, we could all get inevitably caught in it. Communicating with other people, linking ourselves to each other, is what life is all about, and what we all fail at miserably.
Blurbarella: “Make a search on Google — for– little white boys — constantly exposed. — Get inevitably caught.”
5 out of 6 cherries