Movie Recommendation: Temple Grandin

Last night, Cathy and I watched a movie called Temple Grandin. A delightful and very well done movie about an autistic girl and her mom and their work to help her find a meaningful place in society, which she does.  It is a story of a gifted mind that is over stimulated by her sense of the world and that does not know how to act in society resulting in ridicule and struggle. In a day when autism was little understood, they overcome with help of others along the way. It brings encouragement and challenge into our “normal” worlds as well. There is also insight into the animal world as well.

A movie I recommend and I will buy so I can watch it again from time to time.

From Amazon:

Editorial Reviews – – It doesn’t take long to see that Temple Grandin, the main character in this eponymous HBO movie, is, well, different–she (in the person of Claire Danes, who plays her) tells us before the credits start that she’s “not like other people.” But “different” is not “less.” Indeed, Grandin, who is now in her 60s, has accomplished a good deal more than a great many “normal” folks, let alone others afflicted with the autism that Grandin overcame on her way to earning a doctorate and becoming a bestselling author and a pioneer in the humane treatment of livestock. It wasn’t easy. The doctor who diagnosed her at age 4 said she’d never talk and would have to be institutionalized. Only through the dogged efforts of her mother (Julia Ormond), who was told that “lack of bonding” with her child might have caused the autism, did Grandin learn to speak; to go to high school, college, and grad school; and to become a highly productive scientist, enduring the cruel taunts of her classmates and the resistance of many of the adults in her life (most of whom are shown as either narrow-minded prigs or macho, chauvinist jerks). Her lack of social skills and sometimes violent reactions to the overstimulation in her environment made it tough to fit in, to say the least. Danes, who is in nearly every scene of director Mick Jackson’s film, is remarkable, embodying Grandin’s various idiosyncrasies (such as talking, too loud, too fast, and too much) without resorting to caricature. Jackson does a marvelous job of depicting not only her actual accomplishments (among other things, she took the “squeeze machine” created to “gentle” upset cattle and adapted it for herself, using it to replace the hugs she never got as a child; later on, she revolutionized the systems used to prepare cows for slaughter, as well as the design of the slaughterhouses themselves), but also her more abstract talents, especially the extraordinary visual acuity that enables her to remember virtually everything she’s ever seen. This is mostly Danes’s film, but the whole cast is top-notch, especially Ormond, Catherine O’Hara as Temple’s aunt, and David Strathairn as one of the few teachers who saw Grandin’s potential. Captivating, compelling, and thoroughly entertaining, Temple Grandin is highly recommended. –Sam Graham

Product Description

Based on the writings by its title subject, HBO Films’ Temple Grandin is an engaging portrait of an autistic young woman who became, through timely mentoring and sheer force of will, one of America’s most remarkable success stories.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

An amazing amount of insight on autism., February 18, 2010

By  Stacey K. Svanes “blessed mommy on the farm” (South Central North Dakota) – See all my reviews

My husband and I watched this movie last night for the first time. We are as different as night and day but this movie had both of us riveted from beginning to end. It opens up the door to a wealth of insight on autism. Once I finished the movie I did some internet research on Temple Grandin and was blown away at how one person’s life experiences can have such an impact in the world. I am so excited to share this movie with my children. It will be one more teaching tool to show them how important it is to embrace all people simply because they are people. As Temple’s mother is quoted in the movie as saying, “She is different, not less.” What a great life lesson to pass on to both young and old in this world.

Enlightened Support, February 23, 2010

By  Terry L. Morrison – See all my reviews

I watched this movie last night on HBO. This was an outstanding movie at many levels. What struck me most intensely was the thought of what could have been. Temple is old enough where her life and contributions might have been diverted into a dark place of institutional placements. The movie did a wonderful job of showing her strengths and weaknesses (smacking a teasing bully who deserved it). Yet, that alone could have brought her significant, negative attention with a corresponding nasty outcome. It was clear that people who saw her gifts allowed Temple the thrills and satisfaction of self expression. Her ability to see things normal brains do not see is extraordinary to learn about. The changes in her chosen (cattle) industry were significant because she saw the world so differently. Things done a certain way for decades and decades take a very powerful force to cause change. As a society we stopped institutionalization for people with differences. One wonders how many Temple Grandin’s did not escape that dehumanized fate. The movie makes you consider how many other systems we take for granted that could use a Temple Grandin approach to trying another way.

Amazingly accurate., March 1, 2010

By  John P. Maxwell (Valencia, CA USA) – See all my reviews

I am autistic, high functioning, like Temple Grandin is, as well as being a visual thinker. It is often very hard to explain to people in words what it is like, or why it’s hard for me to do somethings NTs (neurotypicals or nonautistics for those that don’t know) have no issues with, or why somethings bother me severely. I usually get reactions that just being lazy or whining over nothing, when it’s much more than that.

This film accurately captures what it is like for me, at least. (Autism is extremely diverse, and what’s true for one autistic won’t be true for all) And I finally have something I can show my friends and family and point to and say “This is what I’ve been trying to explain.”

Beyond the fact that I can simply relate to much of experiences and difficulties (at least in relation to autism), this film is extremely well made, and highly recommended. It is highly enjoyable and entertaining to watch regardless of whether or not you you have any connection to autism. Temple’s life and character is an inspiration to all, and the lessons of her life can apply to anyone across the board.

Do watch.

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