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The Horse Boy (2009)

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A writer documents the journey his family takes to Mongolia to consult with nomadic shamans on the healing of their autistic son.


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Cast overview:
Rupert Isaacson ...
Himself - Narrator
Kristin Neff ...
Rowan Isaacson ...
Kendal Stewart ...
Himself (as Dr. Kendal Stewart)
Herself (as Dr. Temple Grandin)
Dale Rudin ...
Herself (as Dr. Dale Rudin)
Simon Baron-Cohen ...
Himself (as Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen)
Roy Richard Grinker ...
Himself (as Dr. Roy Richard Grinker)


OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY chronicles the journey of the Isaacson family as they travel through Mongolia in search of a mysterious shaman who they believe can heal their autistic son. This film delves into the strange world of autism, horses, shamanism, and Mongolia while telling the story of a family that will go to the end of the earth to find a way into their son's life. Written by Michel O. Scott

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A father's quest to heal his son. See more »




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

18 November 2011 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Over the Hills and Far Away  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$160,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,554 (USA) (2 October 2009)


$155,984 (USA) (5 February 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

A modern day autistic adventure that puts autism where it needs to be.
22 September 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is an excellent documentary with a message about the need for diversity in which an autistic boy with a love of animals is the main focus.

A young couple and their autistic four year old boy Rowan take a pilgrimage to a sacred lake at the heart of the great Mongolian Plain where tradition has it, shamans still practice ancient healing rituals that may help heal their son of his autism. Rowan seems keen enough, but are they barking up the wrong tree?

As we take the journey with them so we start to understand what the boy's parents are really up against. Who are they and why are they making such a public show of their autistic son? Do they have something important to say to justify their family adventure? The answer is yes.

Their energy, determination and openness throughout the whole film is spoken to a friendly and compassionate camera and having previously documented the plight of the Bushmen, Rowan's father is clearly going to be in his element. But is it just another documentary for him?

Rowan's father is clearly on familiar territory as a journalist having previously visited remote tribes and other remote parts of the world, but here he is completely unable to walk away from the subject matter like any other a job; here his hands are tied. Why are we doing it? How will it end? Are we crazy subjecting ourselves and our son to such(public) expectations? We share their doubt.

For me the wild landscape of the high Mongolian Plain captured perfectly the wilderness and inner vulnerability of dealing with autism in the modern world. From start to finish one wonders where will it end and marvels at how Rowan's parents cope. Amazing stamina but sustained by true love and compassion.

The films greatest strength is its vulnerability; for this is no easy fiction. A film which could so easily have fallen into the modern day pit of an obsession for awkward personal exposure resounds with love where personal revelation reaches far wider and may touch you as much as it did me.

Well paced and nicely edited this is a motion picture about autism that had to be made and has to be seen, that puts the vital worth back into autism as part of the greater diversity of our expansive human soul.

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