For a little while now I've been wanting to write a bit about autism being depicted in other mediums (e.g. books, radio, films), because most of what people who haven't grown up with someone with ASD in their life know about autism comes from films and books.
I decided to start with films because I love movies and, as has been said before and will be said again, comics and movies - although not the same thing - share some similarities. Films are also often more accessible to people, because you don't have to be able to read to learn and be immersed in the world.
I'm not sure exactly how many parts there will be to these posts about Autism in Film but I've planned at least two. First up we have Temple Grandin and Rain Man.
I didn't really want to write reviews of the movies and as I myself do not have ASD I sometimes feel uncomfortable commenting on the accuracy of characters and portrayal of traits. So I did a sort of mind map of thoughts that crossed my mind.
Movie: Temple Grandin (2010)
A biopic about Temple Grandin's life growing up as a woman with autism.
Tagline: Autism gave her a vision. She gave it a voice.
I liked this film and find Temple Grandin a fascinating lady. I think it talks about common traits of autism and explains them to the viewer well. I felt like Claire Danes' performance did justice to Grandin and the film made me appreciate that, although the awareness of autism these days is far from perfect, we have a lot more understanding about it and how to support people who need support.
How much did I cry while watching: 2 out of 5 teardrops.
Movie: Rain Man (1988)
A road-comedy drama about two brothers. One's a jerk and one has autism.
Tagline: A journey through understanding and fellowship.
I remember thinking this film wasn't great when I saw it in high school for an English class. And I still think there are better films about autism and ASD out there. But on a rewatch it wasn't as bad as I remembered it being. Maybe I connected with it more because the focus was on the sibling (Tom Cruise) moreso than the person with autism and as I've grown older I think more about the connection between siblings.
How much did I cry while watching: 1/2 out of 5 tear drops.
Neither Temple Grandin nor Rain Man focus on people with severe autism like my brother. So I didn't connect entirely with their situations. And even though Rain Man was about siblings it wasn't about two siblings growing up together. The next two films I'm going to talk about hit a lot closer to home. But I'll wait until the next post to talk about them.