Friday, March 12, 2010

Temple Grandin (2010)

THE MOVIE: Temple Grandin (2010)

MOVIE SLOGAN: Autism gave her a vision, she gave it a voice.

* Claire Danes – Temple Grandin (best known for My So-Called Life or Juliet in William’s Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio)
* Catherine O’Hara – Aunt Ann (I remember her best as the mom in Home Alone with Macauley Caulkin)
* Julia Ormond – Temple’s Mother, Eustacia (I know her best as Lady Guinevere in First Knight with Sean Connery and Richard Gere)

BEST QUOTE(S): "Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be." – Temple Grandin

WHY THE GUYS WILL SEE IT: It has an interesting story about cattle and has cowboy-ish themes.

WHY THE LADIES WILL SEE IT: It’s an inspiring tale, a Cinderella story for the autistic.

MARKETED AS: Cinemantic Biography

SYNOPSIS: Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a small child. Before there was much known about autism, autistic children were often sent away to live in asylums. Her mother refused to believe that she wouldn’t be able to function as a normal person, and continued to work with Temple integrating her into society. With determination, she was able to attended regular schools, and college, and even excelled in her studies (with the exception of foreign language.)

Although Temple’s integration was not an easy feat, her autism allowed her to see the world in pictures, and with a whole new perspective. Working on her Aunt’s ranch, she found a fondness for ranch animals, particularly cattle. After graduating college, Temple wanted to continue studying cattle and her autism allowed her to see patterns among the animals that normal people wouldn’t recognize. This singular talent led Temple Grandin to design much more efficient and humane slaughter houses.

MY THOUGHTS: The story doesn’t sound that compelling. And to be honest, the only reason I was interested in this movie to begin with is because I have a friend, named Emily, going through vet tech school right now in Colorado. In a conversation about two months prior to this movie coming out, she had asked me if I had ever heard of Temple Grandin, and told me a few details about her. I guess Temple Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University, and teaches about autism and animal husbandry (the care of animals.) She sounded rather interesting a lo and behold, there was a special on HBO about Temple Grandin. Planning on recording it for my friend, I started watching it, and got sucked in.

My first thought was that I recognized the actress playing Temple, but couldn’t quite place her. So, I IMDB’ed her (Internet Movie Database – and holy crap, it was Claire Danes. (I missed the opening credits, so I didn’t see that Claire Danes was in this.) Last I saw Claire Danes, she was the fallen star, Yvaine, in the fantasy film Stardust. And I know her best from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and her run with My So-Called Life. She always plays a pretty, soft-spoken, yet strong female lead. And here she was in this film: loud, obnoxious, ugly, weak, and annoying! But that was her character! Her acting in this was phenomenal! Her portrayal of someone with autism was astounding. I believe that Claire Danes deserves an Emmy for her performance as Temple Grandin, and I hope she will at least be considered when the 2010 Awards come around.

As for the actual movie itself, I said before, I had no intentions of watching the movie as I was just recording it for a friend, but it sucked me in. It definitely wasn’t a topic of interest to me, and I have a hard time eating anything with a face. (Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT a vegetarian… and do love my meat, but I don’t care to think about the living ,breathing animal that was slaughtered for my nutrition.) And let’s face it, this movie is about Temple Grandin’s struggle to become a part of society and her contribution to this world is her designing slaughter houses. But it was fascinating how they portrayed the images in Temple’s mind so you could relate to her. And relating to her meant that you could relate to the animals she was studying. I was really impressed with this film.

THE VERDICT: I would say go see it in the theaters, but this wasn’t a movie that came out in the theaters. This is a movie made specifically for HBO. So, if you have HBO, I highly recommend that you On Demand it, or when it comes out on Netflix, rent it. It’s not action packed, but it is really interesting.

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