(director: Roger Ross Williams; screenwriter: based on the book “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism” by Ron Suskind; cinematographer: Thomas Bergmann; editor: David Teague; music: odd Griffin, Dylan Stark; cast: Jonathan Freeman, Gilbert Gottfried, Alan Rosenblatt, Owen Suskind, Ron Suskind, Cornelia Suskind, Walter Suskind; Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Julie Goldman, Roger Ross Williams; The Orchard; 2016)
“Moving documentary takes a positive look at someone dealing with autism through his obsession with Disney animated movies.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Roger Ross Williams‘ (“God Loves Uganda”) moving documentary takes a positive look at someone dealing with autism through his obsession with Disney animated movies. The documentary is inspired by the nonfiction book by the father of the autism victim Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.Cornelia and her Wall Street Journal reporter husband Ron Suskind have a six-year-old son Walter and a three-year-old son Owen, diagnosed with autism. Owen was diagnosed with the disease after suddenly speaking gibberish and no longer connecting with the world. When conventional treatment fails to bring him out of his funk, his parents notice that by his watching the Disney animations it calms him and teaches him how to relate to others. Owen remembered all the cartoon’s dialogue and learned to read from following the end credits. The loving family and their tireless effort to help their child grow into a man of 23, with a chance to speak and function independently (preparing to live in his own apartment and dating an autistic young lady), is a genuinely heart-warming film that touched me greatly.
REVIEWED ON 12/1/2016 GRADE: B+