Tag: autism

Far From The Tree

August 25th, 2018 — 12:28am


Far From The Tree-nf

What happens when a parent realizes that their child is quite “different”? How do they feel, and of course how does the developing child experience life when he or she realizes there is a major difference in themselves and most of the people in the world? Andrew Solomon, the author of a well-received book with the same title of this movie, opens this documentary film by reflecting on his struggle and that of his parents as he became aware that he was gay.

The focus of filmmaker Rachel Dretzin was to also examine the real life examples of families and children with Dwarfism, Autism or Down Syndrome, as well as a situation of a seemingly normal teenager who for no apparent reason murders an eight-year-old child and is sentenced to life in prison.

Needless to say, each of these situations present a different set of circumstances in regard to the physical attributes, speech, intellectual ability and other life circumstances. We also can’t ever generalize how everyone will respond in each category. But what we were shown in these real life examples, was that all the children were ultimately shown unconditional love and acceptance by their families.

One very interesting situation was that of a young couple, both of whom had Dwarfism and were happily married. The wife becomes pregnant. At this point, they were not sure if they wanted the child to be normal or to be a small person like them.

The filmmaker did a very good job showing the viewers the dilemma and the feelings of all the parents and children. The analogy between the developmental disability and being gay on one hand seem to be a stretch, but yet, when seen through the eyes of the parents, gave us some worthwhile insight. On the other hand, each category depicted could have been examined in much more depth, perhaps in a separate documentary film for each one. We also felt we needed more insight into why and how the murderer came to do his deed. However, we saw the unconditional and continued love of the parents for their son as they had periodic phone calls with him as he served his life sentence. In fact, the strength and endurance of parental-child love in each family depicted was the real theme of this movie. (2017)


Comment » | 3 Stars, Documentary

The Story of Luke

April 4th, 2013 — 6:46am

The Story of Luke****

The Story of Luke- sp  If any of you know any young people  on the autism spectrum and some of the trials and tribulations which they may experience, you will appreciate the great accomplishment of this film. The credit for it goes to screenwriter/director Alonso Mayo and to Lou Taylor Pucci who plays Luke as well as an excellent supporting cast It is not surprising that Mayo’s mother runs a school for developmentally disabled people, many with autism, in Peru. Not only did he get his inspiration through his experience in knowing many such people but he also arranged for his lead actor to spend two weeks prior to filming, getting to know four individuals and their families who mirrored in many ways the character that he was playing. The result was a very sensitive, consistent and realistic portrayal of a young man in his early 20’s who was raised by his grandparents after his mother abandoned him to them While he has very little social skills, he speaks his mind which show the values that grandmother who raised and home schooled him provided . The grandmother has recently died and the grandfather passes shortly thereafter and Luke finds himself living with uncle and aunt and their children in a dysfunctional family. It becomes the most important thing in the world to Luke to somehow get a job and then hopefully a girl friend and to try to find a space in the world for himself. His brave determination in beginning this journey impacts and changes many of the  people around him. On one level this film is humorous because when Luke speaks his mind, he is saying the truth that  some may think but never say. Seth Green playing a very high functioning man with Asperger’s Syndrome, who becomes Luke’s mentor also provides comedic relief. But really, the over all effect of this movie is the poignancy, which is conveyed as a young man struggles to achieve dignity and his potential as a human being. (2013)

2 comments » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Drama

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