Saturday, August 16, 2008

Autism in the movies: Mozart and the Whale

If you're looking for a great movie, "Mozart and the Whale" is well worth the ~2 hrs you'll spend watching it. It's story of two young adults with autism / Asperger's as they meet, fall in love, and try to make a relationship work. The movie is based on the life of Jerry Newport and his wife, Mary.

Of course, as a mother of boys, I found myself identifying more closely with the young man in the movie (who was played impressively well by Josh Hartnett). I wondered where his parents were, as they didn't figure into the story. I thought about my sons and wondered if they would face the same sort of difficulties this young man faced. He was highly intelligent and well-educated but unable to secure a job in his field due to social issues impeding his interview (difficulty with eye contact, not understanding the social nuances of some of the questions).

The part at the beginning, where he is driving a cab and it shows a visual of what he sees in his mind - basically a map of the entire area - really struck me. I know my sons are visual thinkers and based on their affinity for remembering directions, they probably have a similar visual when we are driving around. They also have a talent for numbers, although not to the extent that the character in the movie does!

The movie explored the difficulties the two faced in their relationship -- often exacerbated by their Asperger's -- and how they worked to overcome them. The fact that they kept trying despite the obstacles, and most importantly, that they were each willing to overlook the other's "quirks" once they understood them better, says a lot and to me was encouraging. I have every hope that my boys will be able to find love, marriage and family when they get older, and I found this movie to be uplifting from that perspective.


Unknown on August 17, 2008 at 2:57 AM said...

Is this on DVD now? I had a hard time getting through Jerry's book as it was a lot about sex and college days.

Did you find the movie better than his books?

Thanks for the review.

danette on August 17, 2008 at 7:26 AM said...

Yep, it would have to be on DVD because that's the only we get to see movies these days :). I haven't read any of his books, so I can't compare them.

Anonymous said...

I really "enjoyed" this movie. I laughed and cried and it made me think about the future- something I'm not ready to do yet...overall I loved it and I think Josh Hartnett did a great job. In some ways it looked very much like my brother, in that movie- it was strange...


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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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