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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart & the Whale
I attended a viewing of this movie with my daughter and my friend. My reason for going was for my grandson, who has Aspergers. I found this to be very uplifting, rewarding and a little sad at times. But it is a relief to know that my grandson has a very bright future ahead of him. We also had a chance to meet Jerry, who was very entertaining and really put my fears at...
Published on November 30, 2006 by Jeanne M. Raimondo

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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice love story that sugarcoats Asperger's
Yes even autistic people want love and happy endings according to this sweet, often over-sugared romance about two people with Asperger's Syndrome who find they can live without their tics but not without each other.
Josh Hartnett delivers a strongish performance as the man obsessed with numbers (Rain Man lite) who lives in a crummy apartment with several birds and...
Published on December 3, 2008 by Alan A. Elsner


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice love story that sugarcoats Asperger's, December 3, 2008
Yes even autistic people want love and happy endings according to this sweet, often over-sugared romance about two people with Asperger's Syndrome who find they can live without their tics but not without each other.
Josh Hartnett delivers a strongish performance as the man obsessed with numbers (Rain Man lite) who lives in a crummy apartment with several birds and their waste products.
Radha Mitchell, though lovely, delivers a soft performance as the gal he loves. Her Aspberger's manifests itself in a weird barking laugh delivered at regular intervals and a hatred of the sound of metal clanging against metal.
This movie is laudable in that it tries to explain the lives of people born without the ability to relate to others in socially-accepted ways. Its problem is that it pretends the condition can be solved with a Hollywood-style ending. It trivializes the problem and reduces it to a few carefully calculated movie tics without ever penetrating the minds of its characters.
It's not unpleasant or objectionable -- just thin.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart & the Whale, November 30, 2006
I attended a viewing of this movie with my daughter and my friend. My reason for going was for my grandson, who has Aspergers. I found this to be very uplifting, rewarding and a little sad at times. But it is a relief to know that my grandson has a very bright future ahead of him. We also had a chance to meet Jerry, who was very entertaining and really put my fears at ease. I would suggest this movie for anyone, so they can become more informed on the subject of Aspergers.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Asperger's is more complicated that this, March 7, 2011
By 
Emily D. Agunod (East Coast United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
My teenage son has Asperger's so I know what it's like and Josh Harnett's portrayal is quite convincing. But everyone else's is an exaggeration. It was pretty annoying when the group is together. I've read enough about Asperger's to know that most people with Asperger's which is actually high-functioning autism, don't act like lunatics or mentally-retarded. Most of them are actually brilliant and mild-mannered. It's mostly a problem of a social disconnection, inability to read people, and interact in manners that come naturally to most people. In reality, people with Asperger's aren't that noticeable. Before that label was used, people just called them nerds or eccentric. What I think happened here is that the writer/s picked out the glaring characteristics of Asperger's and assigned them to the actors. It looked like a circus. Even my son couldn't stand watching it.

The movie was interesting enough and I'm sure some people with Asperger's can identify with some of the characters' traits. The problem between Donald and Isabelle are not unique to people with this condition though, it happens with every couple. The storyline could've been better.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You stole my life!", December 15, 2006
By 
Konrei "Everything I need is right here" (Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York) - See all my reviews
Based on a true story, MOZART AND THE WHALE is a "little" film, a romantic comedy-drama starring Josh Hartnett and the lovely Radha Mitchell, who, as always, is better than expected. Mitchell and Hartnett star as Isabel ("Mozart") and Donald ("The Whale"), two high-functioning individuals diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autistic spectrum disorder, who meet at an Asperger's social group started by Donald, and fall in love.

The normal stresses and strains of a relationship are magnified by their disabilities. While Isabel is the more neurotypical, she is emotionally volatile and fearful of relationships. Not surprisingly, she is an artist and a musician. Certain sounds and emotional stressors can bring on bouts of self-stimulatory rocking, narcissism, and histrionics. Donald is less well-adapted, but is more forgiving even while being less flexible. When under stress he reverts to a savant habit of making complex but pointless mathematical calculations, lives in a filthy house, and becomes distraught over changes to his routines.

Written by the screenwriter of RAIN MAN, MOZART AND THE WHALE is sensitively handled and treats its characters respectfully. Hartnett and Mitchell each give Oscar-caliber performances as Isabel and Donald, striking just the right tones. It would have been easy (but dishonest) to play the leads freakishly, but both Mitchell and Hartnett bring out the essential, sympathetic humanity of Isabel and Donald, even while they subtlely exhibit the difficulties of living with Asperger's. Moreover, they play the characters very differently, underscoring the wide range of behaviors common to Asperger's Disorder.

Playful and poignant by turns, MOZART AND THE WHALE is well worth your time and effort.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth seeing, November 29, 2006
Good performances, especially by Josh Hartnett, and some of it rings very true: there were a lot of things I recognized in here, as the mom of an Aspie girl. The music choices were problematic, and the film was sort of muddy-looking, but it was intelligent and worthwhile, and it offered a broader idea of autism than is usually seen in movies.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but lovable, just like it's characters., April 19, 2007
This has become my favorite romantic comedy ever. I watched it twice yesterday, the second time with the commentary track (which is rather sparse, but does give one insight into the production of the movie).

I have a very high functioning autistic son, and I totally "get" the characters in this movie. Sure, some of them are rather one dimensional, but this movie is only a bit over 90 minutes long, and most of the time had to be spent developing the relationship between Donald and Isabelle. I wish this movie could have been longer with even more character development and background, especially for the Isabelle character.

I was immediately impressed with Josh Hartnett's convincing acting right from the get-go, but I had a little trouble with the Isabelle character played by Radha Mitchell. I thought she was just too "Hollywood pretty" and together to be a believable person with Asperger's Syndrome. However, I got accustomed to her looks (easy enough to do) and I realized that her character was very plausable. Some people with autism just radiate their autism all the time, but others may seem to be just a little quirky or eccentric until an event happens that triggers an unusual reaction.

The Isabelle character seemed to be an individual who had likely been through a lot of therapy (that's the character development I wish we had more of) and had developed an advanced ability to introspect and manage her Asperger's Syndrome, but she had her unique vulnerabilities which surfaced in response to certain trigger events.

Some might say that this movie didn't give a realistic enough picture of autism and Asperger's Syndrome, but perhaps if it did it wouldn't be a comedy. (I haven't read the book that this movie is based on, but I imagine it might have more detail.) People with autism and Asperger's Syndrome can be scary, frusterating, infuriating, brilliant, funny and amazing all at the same time. At times, I thought this movie made light of autism, but then it was meant to be a romantic comedy, not a documentary, and from the commentary I understand that those who made the film had nothing but the best of intentions. It is, after all, based on a real couple's story.

Other stuff I liked about this movie:

The limited use of animated special effects to demonstrate Donald's mathematical capabilities. Very understated and creative.

The soundtrack. Great indy stuff. I found myself staring at the soundtrack credits at the end and looking up the artists to see which songs I could get on CD.

Filmed in Spokane Washington!

Finally, whatever this movie's shortcomings, it is at least a gift for all of us who have autistic people in our lives. We can "get it" in a way that those without first hand experience likely can't. In many ways, it is dead on accurate, and I just marvel that it was made at all.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very touching, November 30, 2006
I saw this movie at a special screening in King of Prussia , PA . As also a mother of an aspie boy (7years old), Josh Harnett was brilliant in this and made me see what I can expect as my son gets older. This is a must see for people who are uneducated about the subject and of course for all of us who know or love someone with Asperger's.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needed more clarity, April 21, 2008
I was disapointed in this movie in some ways. I work with adults with aspergers and found it to be not so real in some ways. I would have liked to seen more on they both developed their relationships to be better and not so much on them being in bed and having intercourse. That to me was a turn down. I would have liked more of a way to show how they were able to cope together more and see more of the subtle ways of aspergers develope. Its a "3" star movie but its a ok version of aspergers if one does not know about them.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The stuff Abe Lincoln, A. Einstein, Anthony Hopkins... are alloyed from!, January 29, 2007
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Unfortunately, the terms "disorder, syndrome, disease..." have been associated with a unique group of individuals who are more sensitive than the general population (asperger's or aspies). Unfortunately, the possessors of the most treasured human traditions have been labeled as ill people to be "cured".

"Mozart & the whale" does an outstanding and heart-warming job of shedding light on the humanity of those who are most sensitive. The inspiring love story allowed for more in-depth portrayal of common human fears, uncertainties and yearning for connection.

Sensitive people (an estimated 15-20% minority of the earth's population) naturally take on the task of connecting deeply and widely. They try to connect with the whole world (not the next ipod purchase), with suffering anywhere and anyhow... On a personal level they enter into powerful emotional bonds that permit them to understand the FEW people they encounter at a level so deep the general population could not comprehend. This takes insurmountable time & effort and exclusive involvement and can be so overwhelming that they many times miss out learning conventional social skills.

Anyway, instead of taking the time to understand & cherish these superior qualities, the medical community decides to try to make these "deviants from glorified societal standards" "normal" again i.e. superficial enough to fit in a purposeless world.

The value of "Mozart & the whale" was to show that these folks are gifted human beings whose talents often border on genius. Sadly, these talents frequently go completely undiscovered and the possessor fades into oblivion as the "town freak". One aspect the movie touched on briefly is how often aspies fall prey to salesmen and other predators.

Jerry is such an inspirational story that had to be told. It took him 15 years to figure out what to say when encountering a stranger!

Josh did such a marvelous job portraying the fears, aspirations and courage of asperger's.

Radha, the star by all means, embodies this untold story of the ideal sensitive woman, who is not perfect either and who is on a life-long journey to connect and gain acceptance.

This is a movie for every library; watch it many times as I did; the longing, watch it for the longing!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not for the whole family, October 10, 2007
While the rating is PG-13, there are a number of R-Rated words; discussion about rape, sex, and penis size; a sexual encounter; and a suicide attempt. It is a movie we decided NOT to show our 8 year-old Asperger's diagnosed son.
It provides a good insight into autism for most people, although the characters in the "group" are each a very specific and different autistic type: The Low-functioning Autistic, the introverted Asperger's, the Savant, etc. Since less than 0.5% of the population has Asperger's Syndrome (so Aspies are not all around you), few people truly do come into contact with the character types portrayed in the film.
The typical story line of "couple meets... couple gets together... couple breaks apart... couple gets back together" would have done nothing for this movie without the autism hook.
The actors and actresses did a pretty convincing job at portraying autism disorders. We could see our son and his friend (also Asperger's diagnosed) in some of their characters.
A good movie if you know an Aspie. A good movie if you don't know one.
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Mozart And The Whale
Mozart And The Whale by Petter Naess
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