Monday, February 22, 2010

The Joy of Cows

Okay, it didn't make me weep repeatedly as it did my friend Jessica (she also exclaimed, "Oooh I love autism!" as the movie began...). But this biopic about autistic cattle expert Temple Grandin was a very nice film. Claire Danes does an excellent job embodying the title character, and Catherine O'Hara as her sympathetic Aunt Ann is also a standout (and finally given a substantial dramatic role). Produced by and screened on HBO, Temple Grandin (Mick Jackson, 2010) tries through visual techniques of enhanced flashes of bits and pieces of what Grandin is seeing to convey what it is like to be autistic. I have no idea if this is accurate or if it's possible to convey what it's like to live as an autistic person, but I liked it. In typical biopic fashion, the audience follows Grandin from her summer before college on her aunt's cattle ranch when she discovers the comfort of the cowpoke, through adulthood, all the while summoning flashbacks to childhood and school to explain where she is now. It entertainingly relays her triumphs and struggles leading to her innovations in understanding how cattle work. It's definitely an inspiring, uplifting story, but it's also funny and not too sappy. Unless you're my friend Jessica.

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