Today I saw Buck, a documentary about a horse trainer (the inspiration behind Robert Redford’s character in The Horse Whisperer) and so much of what he said in the movie resonated for me – both as a horse person and as a person who experienced childhood trauma. While our trauma was very different in nature, I felt as if I was a kindred spirit to him in some ways. So much of what I value and gain from working with animals, I think, comes as a result of things I experienced during childhood – things that were necessary and I’m quite glad I have them now, but that were painful or embarrassing or just things I didn’t want to do. Ever since I really sat on a horse and learned the basics of riding at age nine, I’ve understood that I could get a release from things that stressed me out there.
Now as I’ve become older I’ve found a bunch of other things that I’m equally passionate about, but there’s something special in the interaction between animals and people that always holds a special place for me. I don’t know where I would be without it.
It’s hard to find good, disability-related films. It’s much easier to fall into melodrama and cliche than to really tackle the issues of disability, I think. Not to mention the fact that there hasn’t actually been a full-length documentary made about Moebius syndrome (which is actually interesting, with all the other condition-specific documentaries that pop up on TLC!)
But… here are a few about disabilities in general that are worth seeing:
Autism: The Musical
This is just an amazing documentary, and a great program they have developed. So much of it is about differences in general, and the importance of the arts – both things that are very important to me.
Sound and Fury
Very interesting perspective about elective procedures, the thought process that goes into them, and the effect they have on a specific disability community.
Children of a Lesser God
Just putting this here because I think it’s important to recognize actors and actresses with differences who are out there and making a difference.
And for current movies, definitely see The King’s Speech. Loved actually seeing speech therapy sessions on screen. It has a really interesting back story – the screenwriter who wrote it stuttered as a child and went through some of the same speech therapy techniques in England that are depicted in the movie. Some of their premieres have been benefits for speech therapy organizations, which I thought was great.
And for television, I can’t help but pointing out Glee’s depiction of characters with Down syndrome. The scenes with Sue and her sister and Becky the cheerleader are some of my favorites. However problematic the whole able-bodied actor in a chair issue is, I personally love the fact that they do embrace actresses with disabilities in these roles.