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As someone with Autism, I found this particular film a great representation of myself and my "Brothers and Sisters". What's to add is the real life difficulties of raising a special child is also the relatable death of close ones. I find this representing my life, and I love the film for showing it. Do see.
As a single father of an amazing little boy with autism I have to give this 5 stars. So motivating for me, personally. Makes me WANT to sacrifice more for my little guy.
I lost my wife 4 years ago at age 44. We have 2 severely handicapped sons, 1 of whom is autistic, much worse than Po. My boy is now 18, he is 6'6, cannot speak and has the mind of a 2 year old but occasionally shows flashes of brilliance. This movie was very good. I am an out of work teacher and have had autistic students like Po, one of whom now has a Masters degree in music. This movie is almost too real. I can see it in my son's eyes that he goes places other than here, I do the same when I read. This movie is too close to mine and my son's life. It is a damn good movie.
An autistic son makes life difficult and also a joy for a father who lost his wife and found himself struggling to cope with work, his son's education, and the lack of understanding the "normal" world has for this condition.
As a grandfather to an autistic boy this hit close to home. Loved it.
The people that give this a bad rating have obviously never truly understood the gravity of caring for a child with special needs, because it's portrayed so well here. It's hopeless and desperate and scary and entrapping and overwhelming... And enlightening and inpiring and beautiful.
This is real life for many. The struggles and the heartache are ever present and the joys sprinkled in amongst them are monumental. I wanted to kick the little bully's butt and I cried the loud ugly type of sob when I figured out Jack the Janitor's roll.
The boy that played Po did a fantastic job in getting some of the nuance just right with the way he held his hands and the cadence of his speech. I wasn't quite sure, right up to the pirate scene, if the actor actually had autism or not- he was that good. The actor that played the dad did well, too. I felt his dispair.
I must be getting soft as I get older because movies like A Boy Called Po never used to get passed my ironic armor. As a younger critic, a movie like A Boy Called Po with a premise that reads like a Lifetime Movie and a cast lacking star power would have been one I would dismiss without a glance. Admittedly, I used to be kind of arrogant and quite snobbish. It could be I have become more evolved and mature or it could be that director John Asher's inspired by true events movie is actually so good that I had no need for my emotional armor. https://geeks.media/movie-review-a-boy-called-po?_ga=2.259958090.1126457623.1513947710-953607229.1513947710
A good drama that is about the quality of a TV movie so it's not great.
Touching movie. Feder did a wonderfully realistic portrayal of an autistic child, Asher made a beautiful, entertaining film on a difficult topic.
"There are Angels in our Presence- Look Around"
In a time when big- budget, comic hero, dystopian films dominate the industry, A Boy Called Po is a refreshing alternative, offering a gentle reminder that everyday heroes are already living among us. The film is centered around a child living with Autism, and his father, David, who is dealing with the death of his wife, while bearing the sole responsibility of caring for a child with special needs and maintaining his job as an engineer in a precarious economy. The loss of his job has catastrophic implications, including the loss of the health care benefits that are essential to his son's survival.
This film is a timely and powerful political statement against the dark, and intolerant climate we are currently living in. In a time where the President of the United States gets away with mocking a disabled reporter, millions of people are worried about losing their health care, and countless people are feeling hopeless and disenfranchised, this film serves as a reminder that bullies never win in the end.
The everyday heroes in this film are inspiring and are often unexpected; Po is protected by a surprising hero at school, Po's therapist becomes an invaluable source of support and a love interest for David, a friend at work offers to loan him money, the owner of a hobby shop hires him even though David is grossly overqualified for the job, and even an investigator for Child Protective Services becomes an unlikely hero.
While the film offers examples of everyday heroes, those who fail to show up for David and Po are called out in the subtext. For example, David's extended family is notably absent in the film. When a friend recommends that he should ask his in laws for support, he responds with "It's complicated." David's boss and the majority of his coworkers fail him miserably, forcing him to quit his job.
Additionally, the failure of the educational system to properly accommodate or protect Po is masterfully shown by well-meaning teachers, administrators, and experts who repeatedly put Po in danger. The teacher and administrator's fail to notice that a bully is terrorizing Po, contributing to his regression and poor school performance. At a fancy, expensive facility, Po endures applied behavior treatments that cause him to dangerously retreat into his inner world, causing him to escape from the facility, putting him in harm's way.
Directed by John Asher, whose style is reminiscent of Frank Capra, A Boy Called Po champions the common man overcoming adversity, provides a hopeful message while dealing with a difficult subject, and surprises the audience with a sentimental, O Henry- style twist at the end.
The film relies on talent, expert storytelling, and like all great projects- a good deal of luck. Asher was serendipitously seated next to Burt Bacharach on a flight, who agreed to provide the film score, elevating the film considerably. Without Bacharach's contribution, it would be difficult to understand the inner world of Po, whose mother's ethereal protection is felt within the haunting refrains of "Close to You" and "Dancing with Your Shadow". In contrast to the sparse, bordering on claustrophobic reality scenes, Po's inner world scenes are wide-open and magical, capturing Po's exquisite imagination. This deliberate choice by the director, gives the audience a privileged view of Po's alternate world, placing him as the ultimate hero of the film.
The film serves as a love letter to Asher's son Evan , reflecting a father's love and care in every detail of the film. It provides and unflinching account of living with a child with autism, and manages to inform without lecturing.
Asher also got lucky when he cast this film. Under his direction, the talented cast gives understated, nuanced performances that manage to keep the story from becoming too saccharin. Christopher Gorham's restrained, everyman portrayal of David, is both moving and relatable. He has an innate appeal that is reminiscent of Tom Hanks and Jimmy Stewart, whose careers were built on their brilliant portrayals of the common man with just the right balance of "folksiness" and intelligence. Andrew Bowen provides an endearing portrayal of Jack, demonstrating his range as an actor and his ability to surprise even the most sophisticated audience.
Caitlin Carmichael provides a flawless performance and British accent for Po's imaginary friend, Ameila Carr. We learn a lot about Po through the beautiful, witty, and wise Amelia. Namely, that not only does Po have great taste, but also, that he inhabits all of these qualities himself, because he created her.
Perhaps Asher's greatest gift as a director is his ability to spot talent. However, his ability to spot it before anyone else, provides another example of the director's good luck. After watching this film, it is hard to believe that Feder has not yet been discovered by some big time director or studio. Even if Asher goes on to direct the 21st century equivalent to Citizen Cane, it is likely that he will still be remembered as the guy who discovered Julian Feder. This film would not be possible without Feder's brilliant performance which is equal to, or arguably surpasses, Dustin Hoffman's Oscar winning portrayal of Raymond, an Autistic Savant in Rain Man. Given that Feder was only eleven years old when the movie was filmed, it is obvious that his talent is exceptional. He provides a quiet dignity to his character, revealing the wisdom and presence, well beyond his years, that is inherent in those who truly embody genius. Robert Duval has it, so does Hoffman, Pacino, DeNiro, and all of the truly great ones. It is an unnameable form of charisma, a quality that makes it impossible to take your eyes off of them, and is rarely found in a child actor.
John Asher recognized this quality in young Julian Feder. He curated that talent to make a deeply personal, idealistic, and unforgettable movie- a film that is nothing short of a triumph.
Take that, Steven Spielberg.