|Index||5 reviews in total|
This film, while flawed, is still unique and wonderfully made. An
interesting glimpse into autism utilizing real autistic kids as
Framed in a documentary style, the film adds plenty of artsy camera work and editing, a bit of Psy-Fi and some excellent acting improv.
A fascinating blend.
I understand the comments in a previous review which acknowledges that perhaps it's unfair to burden real autistic kids with a Hollywood perception of having psychic powers. good point. but really, to me that was small part of this film. The most interesting was the actual apparent interaction between the characters and the autistic kids.
A highlight of the 2002 Melb Int Film Festival. What starts as a talkie New Yorker indie flick somehow spins into a suspense drama involving the secret language of an autistic child. Great to see a film about autism not be condescending or obviously manipulative. At first it was hard to tell if it was a ridiculously brave movie or a completely exploitative one. It's brave! Not perfect but brave.
I don't believe in movie reviews to a certain extent. The viewer should
for themselves, not by another's dictation, usually cultural and
This film was very well done...too bad ( it looks like) the film couldn't really get out until 2002..the credits say it was filmed in 1997-1998, if I am not mistaken.
So I would recommend this to anyone, personally..but, the music is a mess... not a pleasant film score at all...
In conclusion, I saw some original elements in the film itself, good blending of 35mm, 16mm, super 8mm, and digital... but a fair amount of influences were taken...and did I sense the music was trying to be like "PI" and that 'eye; shot when the main character is drowning in the lake/brain surgery
If you have a particular interest in autism, this film might interest you.
All of the kids in the film were individuals with autism, which I found
remarkable. I liked the idea that these kids could participate in the
making of a film, and we are spared the "hollywood" approach to
disabilities, which is insulting to those with autism, etc. and to viewers
The main problems I have with this film, however, are the romanticized depiction of autism and the attempt of the film, from what I could gather, to present aspects of the story from the view of one who has autism. Fuzzy hand-held video, distant voices, and moody music are supposed to create the feeling of "autism," I guess, but who could possibly know, if you aren't autistic? The young girl with autism in the film has no verbal language, and plays with toys and writes coded messages to the main character to warn him about his brain tumor. Autistic kids with psychic powers? Come on. Individuals with autism may have a brain that is differently wired than the brains of typical folks, but that doesn't mean they are capable of extraordinary powers. Sure, some individuals with Autism have amazing capacities to focus on particular areas of life, such as numbers, dates, etc., but that is the exception and not the norm.
More disturbing for me was the story line that focused on the young girl with autism and her "special" communication experience with the lead actor. As someone who works with individuals with Autism, I'd be much more interested in seeing a child successfully communicate wants and needs to others, instead of running around hiding toys to transmit a coded message to the outside world. Maybe I need to loosen up a bit, but I enjoy meaningful relationships with plenty of individuals with autism, and it isn't magical or psychic experiences we share. The relationships I have with kids and adults with autsim are real, warm, and the result of having developed a rapport with another person, just like it would be with anybody else.
And romanticizing a child's communication and social skill deficits does nothing to help with the image and perception that typical people have regarding autism and those who have autism. I recognize that films like this can help with developing an appreciation for those with disabilities, in that many viewers may not have had any experiences with autism, and I applaud the filmakers for their attempts. But I see a film like this and I'm reminded of the barriers that individuals with disabilities experience when they try to make their way in the world. Placing a mysterious shroud of psychic powers around the individual with autism only reinforces the negative stereoptypes and misguided perceptions the "normal" world already has, from my point of view.
Instead of highlighting the strengths and desires of these kids, which more often than not are very similar to the strengths and desires typically developing kids might have, the film created "special" kids, with strange, misunderstood interests and mysterious inner lives that, incidentally, are explained away by the camp counselors in less than one or two sentences. For a film that appeared to be attempting to present a dignified and deep depiction of autism initially, the story line and character developments disappointed me in the end.
It was definately a movie in which caught my attention. I enjoyed it. Deffinately a very brave move if you ask me. I wouldn't rate it 10 out of 10, as I've seen better and a bit better taste, but I'd give it about a 7. So, I'd suggest you watch it.
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