recommended viewing

Of the many ways art can enrich our lives, perhaps its most universally significant gift is its profound capacity to create empathy between people from diverse circumstances.  And hey, who doesn’t enjoy kicking back with Netflix after a long day at work?  This week, we’d like to suggest checking out some films that’ll offer you the best of both: a nice opportunity to unwind, and a great chance to see the world from another person’s point of view, too.

First up on our list is “Temple Grandin,” a 2010 biographical film about the best-selling author, professor, livestock industry consultant, and autism advocate.  It’s reviewed here by Lorie Polk.

This biopic is an engaging and inspirational view of the challenging life of a woman with autism in the 1950 & 60s, Temple Grandin, portrayed by Claire Danes.

Back then, one of the prescriptions for autism lead the patient to being institutionalized.  In fact, that was even suggested to Temple’s mother, Eustacia Cutler.  Fortunately, Temple’s mother believed strongly in the possibility of her daughter leading a normal life…with natural supports as needed.

The film encourages people with challenges to overcome them and create the life they want. It also lovingly gives us an insight into Temple’s world–how she perceives her surroundings, and a little of how her mind works. Finally, the film celebrates all the people that supported her in achieving the successes she accomplished. Temple Grandin’s courage, intelligence and perseverance in the face of great odds reminds us all what we can do when we believe in ourselves.

For more perspectives on the experience of autism, the website Autism Speaks recommends the following five films, all currently streaming on Netflix:

Sounding the Alarm
Fly Away
Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon
A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism
The Story of Luke 

You can find trailers and brief synopses of each on the Autism Speaks site:

Lorie also recommends Door to Door, the true story of Bill Porter, a man with cerebral palsy determined to become a salesman.  It stars William H. Macy, and won numerous awards, including six Emmys and a Peabody.  Here’s a trailer:

Have a film recommendation to trade us?  Let’s hear it!  Share what you’ve got in the comments below.