Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

October 7, 2016

Life Animated, documentary review by occupational therapist


Marion Wilm OTR/L C/NDT is the most experienced and tenured occupational therapist at Child and Family Development and works at our Pineville office.  Like the other 30+ therapists on our multidisciplinary team, she finds aspects of her work in many places outside the office, including the movie theater.  Recently, she saw a documentary called Life Animated

On the film website, we’re told: “It is the true and inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a nonverbal young man with autism who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. Academy Award¬Æ winning director Roger Ross Williams tells the emotional coming-of-age story as Owen graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind‚Äôs New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent ‚Äì and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires.  Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. The film evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen‚Äôs life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality.  Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen‚Äôs fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks.  Owen‚Äôs story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.”

Check it out!