Temple Grandin HBO Film, 2010


12 on a scale of 10!

Best movie I’ve seen this year. Funny though, it came out 4 years ago as a made for TV film on HBO. I hadn’t heard a thing about it, even though the star, Clair Danes, won Best Actor from Golden Globe for her amazing performance

The movie tells the gripping story of Temple Grandin who struggled with autism as a child and grew up to become a professor with a PhD who changed an entire industry. The real Dr. Grandin teaches animal husbandry at Colorado State University.

This is what movies should be about: a powerful story, very well written and directed, amazing photography…and finally using the medium to educate about an important social / medical problem, autism. As a psychologist, I knew about autism. I worked one summer at Porterville State Hospital and saw all of this on the back wards… not a pretty picture. This movie taught me more in just over an hour about autism than all the exposure I had in my training.

While the acting, directing and writing of this amazing movie are in a class by themselves, what really makes it work is the story of how Temple Grandin overcame unbelievable odds to become a successful person with an amazing professional career. And to think that as a child, medical professionals  recommended institutionalizing her. She had support from her mother, her aunt, who had a cattle ranch in Arizona, and her beloved teacher, professor Carlock who mentored her and helped her reach her potential.

You can get the movie on NetFlix. It will be worth your time.

2 thoughts on “Temple Grandin HBO Film, 2010

  1. Jeanne Tari says:

    My Mom and sister have been promoting this movie for 4 years! They love the positive clarity the message shines on Autism and the sheer excellence she achieves in spite of her disability. Agree with you…we all give it 5 STARS!!!!

  2. Harold Fethe says:

    I was very lucky to be invited to work as co-aauthor with a fine screenwriter, Earl W. Wallace. He’d been helping me with a documentary. I knew he still occasionally wrote screenplays, and in a spirit of reciprocity, I suggested that it was time for an autistic kid as a character in a feature movie, and not as the subject of a biopic. My inspiration was Temple Grandin, whose life and career I’d been following in Harvard Med School’s Mental Health Newsletter. Wallace watched the Temple Grandin movie, and we got started on a techno-medico-psycho murder mystery with an autistic kid. We finished it and have it out in the market looking for a buyer. The research included some priceless conversations with friends who have autistic kids. They were all supportive of the project. Temple Grandin is a heroic human being, all the more because she ‘gets’ empathy and emotions through sensing and intellect, and respects the feelings of people so artfully, without much help from biologically-based empathy.

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