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M. Leary

Temple Grandin

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M. Leary   

I caught this HBO film not too long ago, and reviewed it here. I have only seen it the one time, but found it completely fascinating. Not only does it do justice to the incredible person that is Temple Grandin, but it is a beautiful, funny, and kind film. I don't think often about performances, but Claire Danes is incredible in this film. High-functioning autism is often characterized by an inability to interpret people's responses to your behavior, and Danes captures this very well. I can imagine that the role was a tough one to pull off.

It really is about how Temple Grandin learned how to interface with the world despite her autism. But in hindsight, I found that the film also generates a lot of ideas about thinking and talking that transcend Grandin's biography. I have read a few of her books over the years, and the way she describes animals feels the same way.

Also, if you aren't a fan of cattle management now, you will be after this film. Fascinating stuff.

Edited by M. Leary

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NBooth   

I've not read Grandin, but I've heard her a couple of times on NPR and I always found her a fascinating person to listen to. I agree with your praise of this movie; it really was a remarkable performance, and despite some places where it could have veered into movie-of-the-week territory, the movie manages to avoid becoming trite. Certainly a movie that deserves to be seen.

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M. Leary   
and despite some places where it could have veered into movie-of-the-week territory, the movie manages to avoid becoming trite.

I thought this as well. There were a number of times where I thought, "Oh boy... here it comes...," and it never really does. Even the final speech, which should have been totally cheesy, is actually very appropriate and rousing.

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NBooth   

One of the criticisms I've come across is that the visualization sequences stray a bit too far into A Beautiful Mind territory. Now, I've not seen Mind, so I have no idea, but I wonder what you make of that? I thought they were interesting ways of expressing how Grandin sees the world.

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M. Leary   

I agree with you. Finally seeing how she thinks was one of the great blessings of the film, and I am not sure how else they could have done it. I wasn't even thinking about A Beautiful Mind while watching this, but as I do like that film quite a bit, I don't mind the comparison at all.

Edited by M. Leary

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BethR   

As I said on the other thread, I liked this film a lot. It happened to arrive from my Netflix queue not long after I read (listened to) this novel by Jodi Picoult about a family with a son diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome that has somewhat different challenges, House Rules. Jodi Picoult isn't my usual style, but it was a pretty good listen, and not too crazy on the vaccine thing.

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Persona   

Thanks for pushing this one, Mike. I doubt I'd even heard of it, much less seen it, if I hadn't come to the boards. What a wonderful, and wonderfully moving film. What a life. I was glad to have been introduced to this strange, smart woman. Claire Danes was incredible! Off the charts performance. I can't believe this never made a theatrical run. Here's to HBO, I guess.

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mrmando   

One of the criticisms I've come across is that the visualization sequences stray a bit too far into A Beautiful Mind territory. Now, I've not seen Mind, so I have no idea, but I wonder what you make of that? I thought they were interesting ways of expressing how Grandin sees the world.

Look up Grandin's TED talk ... she does a bit of a slide show to try to illustrate how she thinks, and it contains image sequences that are very similar to what appears in the film.

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Persona   

Wow, she's on the commentary track. OK, I'm gonna be up all night.

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M. Leary   

Thanks for pushing this one, Mike. I doubt I'd even heard of it, much less seen it, if I hadn't come to the boards. What a wonderful, and wonderfully moving film. What a life. I was glad to have been introduced to this strange, smart woman. Claire Danes was incredible! Off the charts performance. I can't believe this never made a theatrical run. Here's to HBO, I guess.

Yeah, it would have gone over very well in a theatrical run. But if this is the future of non-release cinema, then bring it on.

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tenpenny   

I discovered Dr. Grandin's work about ten years ago, and I've been a big fan of hers ever since. I could scarcely believe it when I heard that a movie was being made about her life, and I braced myself for the worst. To my surprise and delight, the movie was (and is) wonderful and quite moving. "Nature is cruel... but we don't have to be," indeed. I can't recommend the movie highly enough.

If you want a real fix of Temple herself, check out the three-hour interview of her on Book TV. You might think it would be hard for her, or anyone really, to hold your interest for that long, but you might be surprised. I DVRed this interview when it was on Book TV, and I've watched most of it twice. I find her fascinating - almost mesmerizing. But, YMMV.

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Andrew   

Tremendous film - thank you, Mike, for bringing this to my attention. On checking out the film's Wikipedia entry, I'm glad to see it received some awards for acting, direction, and editing, all well-deserved. Claire Danes is astonishing and completely convincing, and the supporting cast are uniformly excellent. I love the way the flashes of images illustrate Grandin's thought processes (animal husbandry, indeed), and the soundtrack that conveys the overstimulation that threatens to overwhelm her. My only gripe is a score that seems way too derivative of John Adams, but in the grand scheme of things, a minor quibble.

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bloop   

As a parent to a child affected by autism, this movie made me cry quite a bit. I don't know that I can be very objective about it. "Different, not less."

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I concur w bloop on all fronts, as I am in the same position, fathering a child on the spectrum. Bloop, we should trade notes.

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Nick Alexander wrote:

: I concur w bloop on all fronts, as I am in the same position, fathering a child on the spectrum.

Hmmm, that makes at least four of us here at A&F, then (including myself and mrmando).

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