Life, Animated

After toddler Owen suddenly stops speaking, he gradually reconnects with his family and the world by using the language of his beloved Disney movies.

Year: 2016
Certificate: PG
Director: Roger Ross Williams
Starring: Jonathan FreemanGilbert Gottfried

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When I saw that this documentary had been added to Netflix I was very interested in watching it because of my links to autism, although none of the autistic people I know is or have been nonverbal. I was also interested in the fact that the family said that Owen suddenly stopped speaking after having a seemingly exceptional vocabulary and no signs of autism before the age of 3.

Life, Animated is a lovely look at the life of 23 year old Owen Suskind, who at a young age was diagnosed with autism and subsequently went on a quiet lonely path where he no longer communicated with his family or engaged in everyday life, only to have found solace, and in many ways saving, in the forms of animated Disney films.

Autism is quite often associated with obsessions with something they find interesting. Some people see this as a negative thing – that they’ll never be able to talk or learn about anything else (this is not true). However, hopefully, ‘Life, Animated’, will help people see that this behaviour can be positive. Owen’s love for Disney helps him cope with the real world and all the changes that the world brings. You really see this in the film with the use of the Disney clips that they show and how they match to what Owen is going through and feeling.

Utilising a vast array of Disney footage alongside some beautifully drawn original imagery to express Owen’s past, future and dreams as well as an abundance of heart-warming moments with Owen and his loving family, Ross Williams has a clear affection for the story he is telling and it comes across in every aspect of this Oscar-nominated documentary.

Life, Animated is an insightful look at Owen and his family’s life living with Autism but it is important to understand that if you watching this documentary to get an insight into autism not everyone with autism is the same and this is in fact just Owen’s story and not the story of everyone on the autistic spectrum.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!


About Tammy

A parent blogger and mom to 3 adorable children, who likes watching documentaries and dramas.

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