Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Autism on screen

In The New York Times, Caryn James looks at the recent clutch of films featuring central characters who are autistic.
Depicting autism from the inside out may be more difficult on screen [than in fiction], but it is also true that films have rarely tried. Awareness of autism has seeped into the culture enough to make it a handy metaphor. But while the autistic savant of “Rain Man” seemed alien from most viewers, more recent characters are often just a shade beyond quirky, with emotional problems that are like anyone else’s, only more extreme. Focused intently on the way “they” are like “us,” these films may not do much to increase understanding of autism at all.

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