This past Sunday, I sat down with my parents and John to watch Temple Grandin. I had bought the movie a few months ago after reading the great reviews but kept putting off watching it for various reasons, including thinking it would be too heavy for a depressing winter day. My curiosity finally peaked and despite the family's slight reluctance, we started it relatively late in the evening. I fully expected John and my mother to fall asleep by the halfway point as they are both notorious for letting movies lull them asleep on a quiet evening.
By the end of the movie--everyone was fully awake--we were all invigorated and discussing what we had just watched, staying up past our usual departure times. Everyone in the room enjoyed it and all of us have been discussing it since. It is easily one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Yes, it deals with serious matters but it doesn't weigh you down with them, infuses hope and understanding and even some tolerance that inspires. It is wonderfully visual and conveys autism, especially Grandin's, in a lucid manner. Clare Danes deserved her Emmy and Golden Globe despite the cliche of portraying someone with a disability which Hollywood always rewards. Julia Ormond (so good to see her again) and Catherine O'Hara were also excellent along with David Straithairn whose role wasn't a push for him but he does it so well that I always love him, too.
So I wanted to recommend the movie to you. See it if you haven't. It's gotten some press, but not nearly enough since it was made for TV. It isn't rated but would merit somewhere between a PG and PG-13 for subject matter. After all, this is about slaughterhouses, too. Grandin is in part responsible for the better treatment of animals that will eventually become a food source. Read more about her here if you are interested, but don't let that subject matter scare you away as I almost did. It is discreet in handling those matters and doesn't try to shock or repel while still telling the story of someone's struggles with being different, very different, but with a big contribution to make to our world.
Here are some books by Grandin who is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University.