Sunday, September 12, 2010

Temple Grandin


I bought this video on the recommendation of a friend. When I was checking out at Borders the sales clerk gushed over the movie.

A remarkable story of human intervention on par with The Miracle Worker. This is the story of an autistic child and the power of intentionality in bringing light to darkness. Rather than give up and heed the advice of experts a mother perseveresthrough the pain of pushing her child to reach what might otherwise be unimaginable goals. This is a great biopic- fascinating to the end- that reveals the details of the thought processes of the person it renders on the screen. It is filled with unexpected, but unsentimental emotional power.

Part of the power is the peeling of the onion that occurs as we are dropped into a life to encounter explanations and circumstances in situ.

It is also touchingly human to follow Temple’s development through challenges at every turn. She see the challenges as doors to go through to emerge on the other side. We can all learn and be inspired by her tenacity in the face of opposition and ignorance. The mother's role cannot be underestimated in this process. We hear her demand respect for her child who is "different, but not less." Indeed, Temple seems to have savant capabilities in visual thinking which she is able to leverage to compensate for her extreme dysfunction in verbal and social ability.

It is also a testimony to the power of teachers to provide a platform for transcendence to their pupils. In the case of Temple, her science teacher saw with sage eyes the potential of his very special student- “trust me, we know how special she is”. And this depiction of the power of deferring presuppositions is inspiring as well.

And yes, I was completely choked up by the celebratory ending, which also testifies to the profound worth of the film.

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