Autism Movie Review: Ocean Heaven Tuesday, Mar 5 2013 

Due to my position with the Autism Society of Northern Virginia I was fortunate enough to be part of a parent panel for this film, which was put on by the Northern Virginia Jewish Community Center for the Reelabilities Film Festival of Greater DC. I would first like to thank those folks for their support in creating disability awareness and, more specifically, autism awareness in the Metro DC area.

The film stars Jet Li as the widowed father of an autistic boy. The opening scenes are confusing, then shocking, then I was totally immersed in the film. The story was overwhelmingly compelling to me, as the thought that my wife might die and leave me alone to care for our son is always somewhere in the back of my mind. I also appreciate the way so many folks in the movie compliment the dad on his dedication to his son, but the film still shows that he is human and makes mistakes.

The film also shows the stark lack of services in China, as once the father is diagnosed with a terminal disease he tries to find multiple locations to place his son. He looks at his old school, but the kids are too young. They look at an institution, but he can’t bring himself to make his son stay there. I find this mirrors what most people experience here in the US, where the community based choices are few and far between.

I’m giving this film 4 out of 5 stars. Its well played, and the actor who plays the autistic son does a great job. The rest of the cast turns in solid performances as well, and the story had me in tears in several places. It manages to touch on many of the aspects of transition as well as the parent/child aspects of autistic life. It is streaming on Netflix if you want to watch. I’d recommend taking the time.


Autism Movie Review: Adam Tuesday, Aug 14 2012 

“Adam” is about a young man with Aspergers Syndrome coping with loss and trying to make sense of the world without his father. Hugh Dancy plays Adam, a young adult who goes through a number of changes during the movie. Cute film, although its not all sunshine and roses.


Autism Movie Review: Temple Grandin Monday, Sep 19 2011 

If you know anything about autism then you know who Temple Grandin is, and if you don’t know anything about autism then you need to learn about Temple Grandin. Luckily HBO and a wonderfully talented group of writers, actors, producers and directors have made learning easy. They created the biopic “Temple Grandin.”

The movie takes excerpts of Temple’s life but is not quite chronological. The director uses a number of visual cues to trigger flashbacks and progress the story. As the father of a visual kid with autism I found those transitions both compelling and enlightening. They subtly convey the visual trigger aspect of autism without belaboring it.


Autism Movie Review: Rain Man Wednesday, Aug 31 2011 


I know what you’re thinking. “I deal with autism all the time. I hate the Rain Man stereotype.” I do too, but I think its worth discussing. I think, given the right approach, Rain Man can be used to raise awareness. The key is to focus on the positive aspects shown. It doesn’t hurt to bring up the change in approach, from an institutional model in the 80s to the current community based ideal.

For those who haven’t seen it, Rain Man is the story of a callous brother Charlie Babbitt, played by Tom Cruise, and his estranged and unknown brother Raymond, played by Dustin Hoffman. Raymond has autism, and Tom Cruise kidnaps him in an attempt to get money from his deceased father’s estate. With no money forthcoming, Charlie decides to use Raymonds savant skill, the ability to visually track and mentally simulate mathematical formulae at lightning speed, to cheat a Vegas casino out of a small fortune.


Autism Movie Review: The Horse Boy Monday, Aug 29 2011 

Great story about a family who decides to take an unconventional method to healing their son. I’ve read the book, which I reviewed in my post Autism Book Review: The Horse Boy. The story is the same although, naturally, abbreviated due to time constraints.


Autism Movie Review: Wretches and Jabberers Thursday, May 26 2011 

After all the movies about autism I’ve seen, I’m sort of amazed that this is my first movie review. Still, I will try to keep up with this going forward, and I’ll even go back and critique some of the films I’ve seen in the past. Now on to the review!


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