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Monday, March 6, 2017

Life, Animated (2016)

This is a really lovely documentary that is about a child who is severely autistic and what his family does to ameliorate that for him, and what they cannot do.  It is heart warming and heart breaking at the same time.  It seemed like everything was okay until he turned three and he stopped talking.  Completely.  Having had a child who was mute for three months after brain surgery I totally get how distressing that can be.  They were very unsuccessful at turning his speech around, and found that the greatest joy he got was from watching Disney movies.  Then one day he repeated a line from a movie verbatim.  Gradually, over time, having conversations with him that were solely in dialogue from Disney animated movies they learned two things. One was that he had them all memorized, and two that he used them to make sense of the world around him.  If it wasn't in a Disney movie, he didn't have a way to picture it in his head or talk about it.  There is a point in the movie where his older brother tries to talk with him about sex and love within the context of a relationship he was in at the time, and it just wasn't going anywhere.
The parents do everything in their power to make life as close to normal as they can, and I relate to that as well.  Their son prepares to move out into a somewhat independent living situation near them, and I have a kid who is not quite ready to do that.  So it was bittersweet, this movie.  I have less to worry about but it is a difference of degree and not kind.

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