Water seeking its own level is a way I look at people who have an overabundance of one attribute. Let me show you what I mean. If I saw a person who was extraordinary in a sports activity I would soon discover they were deficient in another part of their life. Not to make this sound like a given but within my small world this seemed to be the norm. There was this boy in school who was a genius when it came to mathematics. He had little skill in socialization, often times he would be off and away from the other students. Because he showed this amazing side of himself and the teacher did nothing to bridge the gap between him and the rest of the class, the other students shied away from him. He had a hard time through high school, though he only stayed for a couple of years before getting a scholarship to MIT at the age of 15. I hope this explains what I mean by water seeking its own level; because math skills took up a majority of this person’s brain, other skills were not fed as much. Hopefully I am making sense here; because there was a time (or maybe it still happens) when people did not take the time to find that special skill in a person. I feel each person has abilities but some don’t translate well. Another way of saying this would be to describe human beings as a recipe. If there is too much sugar they are extra sweet; if they are mean spirited then there is not a lot of goodness in them. Everything has to find a way to balance out inside of us some way. CHRISTIAN Wolff, played by Ben Affleck (Gone Girl, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), had a father who refused the advice of doctors on how to treat his son. It was because of his decision Christian was able to take care of himself as an adult. This action crime drama twisted its way inside of me. With Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, Pitch Perfect franchise) as Dana Cummings, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash, Labor Day) as Ray King and John Lithgow (Interstellar, Love is Strange) as Lamar Black; the story grabbed me on several levels. First I thought the way the writer handed the subject of autism was both sensitive and humorous. Ben did a wonderful job and I especially liked the chemistry between him and Anna. They were not only sweet together but plausible. I thought the flashback scenes would have been a distraction but on the contrary they only added a real depth to the characters. Now keep in mind I never look ahead while watching a film to try and figure it out. This film took me by surprise with the twists and turns that took place. Keeping this real, let me tell you there were a few scenes that did not ring true; but in the scheme of things, it did not matter to me. The movie took an important subject and made it part of an entertaining story. Now if I could find an accountant like this one; or on second thought, I would be glad to wait for a sequel to this film.
We were never properly informed so we did not know any better at the time. There was a little girl in our class that we had to be careful around whenever we were near her. The teacher only told us she could become seriously ill if she fell or cut herself. Of course this made all of us more curious about her. It was on the playground where we found out she was a hemophiliac; she was the one who told and explained it to us. Until she did however, there were kids who would not go near her. I now know with the HIPPA act and privacy concerns there may be an issue with talking about someone’s medical condition; but until it was explained to us, there were a few classmates who behind her back would say she had cooties. As I grew up I began to notice how people with a certain genetic disposition were being stigmatized. I did not understand why anyone would be uncomfortable with someone who had diabetes or deafness. In this film festival winning drama I was totally taken by the story and performances. Alan Rickman (Nobel Son, Harry Potter franchise) played Alex, who was on a road trip to Winnipeg, Canada. After being involved in an automobile accident; Alex went to pay his respects to the grieving mother Linda, played by Sigourney Weaver (Avatar, Alien franchise). He discovered she was a high functioning autistic woman who seemed more concerned about the garbage being taken out on time instead of her deceased daughter. Sigourney was outstanding in this role; in fact, while I watched this film I was surprised I had no recollection of it ever being advertised or at the movie theaters. Alan’s acting was fine but I felt the script may have been biased towards his previous works; it took a while before he overcame it and grew into this character. Even with some predictability in the script I enjoyed the small town feel along with the characters Vivienne and Maggie, played by Emily Hampshire (Cosmopolis, It’s a Boy Thing) and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix franchise, Disturbia). Though the subject of autism was not the only story line, I thought it was handled brilliantly. Of course I have to reiterate Sigourney had a lot to do with it. This was a surprise find for me on DVD, where I not only felt invested in the story but enjoyed sitting and watching it.
3 stars — DVD
The brain is an amazing organ. I have always been fascinated on how it works. A child’s ability to learn multiple languages without an accent prior to a certain age, to a stroke victim who can only utter one word but think they are talking in complete sentences; I am in awe with the functions of the brain. In the world of autism, there is a wide variance of functionality. This biographical movie is about the remarkable woman, Temple Grandin. Amazingly played by Claire Danes (Stardust, The Hours), her portrayal was eerily similar to the real Ms. Grandin. At a time where we had less understanding of autism, Temple grew up being noticeably different. With the support of her loving mother Eustacia, played by Julia Ormond (My Week With Marilyn, Sabrina) and encouragement from Dr. Carlock, played by David Strathairn (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Tempest), Temple was able to grow and make some considerable contributions that changed the way we treat animals. In fact, one of her ideas has been used in the treatment of stress reduction for autistic people. I have always been a champion in celebrating people’s differences. Just as differences were shown through this movie, I believe they are played out in our daily lives to varying degrees. And with a chance meeting and the acceptance of one’s differences, look at the achievements we can all benefit from. This was an amazing movie about an awe-inspiring woman.
3 1/2 stars — DVD