At three years old, a chatty, energetic little boy named Owen Suskind ceased to speak, disappearing into autism with apparently no way out. Almost four years passed and the only stimuli that engaged Owen were Disney films…
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
As someone who also grew up with the 90's Disney vault, and hopes to work in animation for living, I found Owen's story very touching and inspiring. It's encouraging to know that your miserable drawings and cartoons would be able to change someone's life forever.
This reflective look at one man's view of life is heartrending and hits very close to home for anyone who has felt alone or different and enhances the powerful nostalgic impact of Disney classics that we can't let go of even as we face the reality of adulthood and life's mishaps and sorrows.
It may not be awards worthy but it sure as hell is heartwarming and an interesting watch. Of course, it is not a documentary about autism, it has no real insight about it, and can be viewed as lewd Disney infomercial, but Owen is a great character on screen (and a wonderful, complicated human being outside of it).
I liked the animated segments, but I also feel like the film was very exploitative, and while the family clearly has the best intentions for Owen and clearly loved him, they were all kinda assholes. Also, it's interesting that Disney helped him to express himself and learn, but why did it have to be Disney? I sincerely hope this doesn't win the Oscar.
A very touching documentary which highlights both the dangers and the beauty of Disney idealism. I felt it helped me understand my best friend's love of anime better, with their exaggerated facial expressions. Watching Bambi's death on the evening he'd moved away seemed like a bad choice! Though I think Owen found comfort in its predictability; and, in fairness, I read Chris Ware when I feel emotionally vulnerable.