Movie Review: Temple Grandin

I meant to write about this movie right after watching it, but we know how that goes.
Temple Grandin is a nationally renowned researcher and autistic. I first learned about her life when reading one of Oliver Sacks' books. Personally, I think that it's always interesting when a person with autism is able to articulate for others what their experience is like, since most of the people I work with who have autism cannot converse with me about their life. This biopic is based on Temple Grandin's book "Thinking in Pictures."

From interviews that I have seen with Temple, it seems that she was very pleased with the accuracy of how Claire Danes portrayed her. I would say that her endorsement of the acting means more than anyone else’s. David Strathairn does well in his typical role of scientific mentor.

As someone who works with young children with autism, I think that it would have been good to see more of Temple's development from nonverbal youngster to boarding school resident. What we do see is a great story of family pride, a mother and an aunt who refused to give up expectations despite recommendations of professionals. Their efforts helped guide Temple into her career and provided the foundation for her later successes by allowing her to nurture and develop her chosen interests.

I was touched by the scene near the end where Temple attends a conference on autism and soon the participants find her more engaging than the speaker. The feeling of parental desperation for a "cure" is still so true for so many. While there was some initial disappointment from the crowd when she stated she hadn't been "cured," it was inspiring to think of someone watching one of the first publically known and successful autistics. To see Temple be successful is to give new hope that their child can be successful, can communicate, can do more than what "the experts" say.

I liked the movie, but I was most surprised by the fact that my husband liked the movie. He is not a fan of non-fiction in the least but I think he was intrigued to see how Temple was able to solve problems in her own way. So if you'd like to see a glimpse into Temple's neurodiverse world, I think it would be worth your time.

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