Temple Grandin Reviews
Temple Grandin's biopic depicts her childhood, school experiences, college experiences, development as a writer and designer, and how she managed to get into the male chauvinistic world of cattle operations (maybe it's not like that anymore but in this movie the cattle operations industry looks pretty chauvinistic). There are some funny moments here and there.
One of the things that makes Temple's life so interesting is the challenges of autism she struggled with throughout everything. A lot of credit seems to belong to her Harvard graduate mother, who did not take the advice of a doctor to institutionalize her nonverbal 4-year-old daughter. Instead, she worked to help her daughter learn to speak and then put her into mainstream school and then insisted she continue her education.
In college, Temple invented a device to help her cope with stress. And she conducted a study on her device. I wonder if devices like this are still being used for autistic? It appears to be hug replacement or perhaps womb simulation, since real hugs from real people were a problem for her.
The best part is how she wrangled into her career. Quite determined, once she set her mind to what she wanted to do. She moved forward with astonishing tenacity. We are told that (more humane and efficient) systems she designed are used in about half of cattle slaughterhouses in the US.
I can't imagine how anybody could dislike this movie. It's inspiring and raw in a straightforward and very human way. The acting is undeniably crafty as well. I recommend this to all.
This is a strange subject for a movie, but director Mick Jackson expands on it to enable us to most fully empathize with Grandin, understanding her talents, her disabilities, and the ways that she learns to apply her positive skills to adapt to her weaknesses. The beauty of the piece is that it is interested in Grandin as a full woman, telling a comprehensive story of her life which focuses on her autism without reducing her to it. We learn about her early days on a ranch, where, observing how cattle are calmed in a cage that hugs them, she eventually creates a similar device for herself - and the troubles this creates when she tries building one at college.
At the center is the terrific performance of Claire Danes. We've seen her unhooked in "Homeland" when she goes off her meds, Her character is always just barely in control - integrating with society only by what she can learn consciously - not by intuition. Julia Ormond is her caring but not always understanding mom - I remember Ormond was ridiculed in her first onscreen performance in "Legends of the Fall" but she's developed really good chops over the years.
The film was a great combination of acting, directing, and story telling. It didn't get into the overly maudlin nor the grandiose. It was a very down-to-earth portrayal of a very gifted women looking to move forward courageously in a very confusing world.
I've seen Danes in a few movies, but never considered her a top notch actor. Well, I've found that, that's a very inaccurate appraisal. In this role she shined. She was Will Smith as Mohammed Ali. She was Jamie Fox as Ray. There WAS no Claire Danes only Temple Grandin.
I loved the story, the struggle, the challenge, the courage, the love. A most satisfying film on all levels. Yes, near perfection indeed.