This week we’re taking a look at books dealing with characters with disabilities, both apparent and hidden. Oftentimes characters in movies with disabilities might be written in for a gag or a joke (the deaf person goes WHAT?), when in real life it’s not funny at all. Just as in young adult materials, it’s extremely hard to find accurate portrayals of people with disabilities in film and on TV- it’s problematic and often times insulting.
So to start off this week, I’ve put together a disabilities movie playlist- with realistic portrayals. Have others? Let me know in the comments so I can add them.
A Beautiful Mind: John Forbes Nash Jr. is a mathematician who has to face a life-long struggle with schizophrenia, a condition that shapes the course of his education and personal and professional life. PG-13. 2002.
Benny & Joon: After their parents die, a man is forced to care for his younger sister, who has a variety of emotional and behavioral problems. Her love affair with an unusual and eccentric young man places even more pressure on her relationship with her brother. PG. 1993.
The Boy Who Could Fly: An autistic boy who dreams of flying touches everyone he meets, including a new family who has moved in after their father dies. PG. 1986.
Crazy Moon: After a pair of rebellious brothers vandalize a store, one of them falls for the attractive girl who works there. The girl, who is deaf, helps the boy to change his life. PG. 1987.
Door to Door: Based on a true story of a man with cerebral palsy, a door-to-door salesperson becomes top seller, despite being assigned the worst territory. TV Movie. 2002.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. PG-13. 2012.
Girl, Interrupted: After attempting suicide, a teenage girl is committed to an institution for young women. R. 1999.
Hear and Now: A documentary memoir following a filmmaker’s deaf parents as they receive a complex surgical implant, which allows them to experience sound for the first time. Unrated. 2007.
How To Dance in Ohio: In Columbus, Ohio, a group of teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum prepare for an iconic American rite of passage — a Spring Formal. Unrated. 2015.
The Imitation Game: During World War II, a mathematician and cryptoanalyst, who also has autism, is recruited to help the British government crack Germany’s infamous ‘enigma’ code. PG-13. 2014.
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors: The story of an autistic youth named Ricky who, after a particularly difficult day at school, escapes into the subways. Unrated. 2013.
Still Alice: A professor’s life and relationships are turned upside down when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. R. 2014.
The Story of Luke: A young man who has autism abandons the sheltered life created for him by his family to strike out on his own. Unrated. 2014.
Theory of Everything: This biopic tells the true story of the physicist Stephen Hawking and his battle with ALS. PG-13. 2014