“Life, Animated” is all this. The documentary tells the story of Owen Suskind, a now 25-year-old man who learned to communicate through animated Disney films growing up as a child with autism. Based on the memoir written by Owen’s father and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind, who worked as a producer on the film, “Life, Animated” is an insightful look beyond the meaning of autism to the dynamics of family and discovering oneself.
While the documentary at times tests the boundaries of Owen’s privacy, this very fact provides an interesting and fearless account of the challenges, sorrows, and joys experienced by him and his family, as he learns how to be himself. The sudden and inconclusive ending suggests this is an ongoing process for Owen, just as it is with most of us; perhaps we’re not all that different. For those who grew up with Disney as I did, it is a nostalgic and essential film; for those who enjoy documentaries, biographies, and a simple story of hope, it is equally unmissable.
Life, Animated is showing at the Stronger than Fiction Festival, this Friday, July 29th 2016 at 6.30pm – Palace Electric Cinema