Based on the writings by its title subject, HBO Films’ Temple Grandin is an engaging portrait of an autistic young woman who became, through timely mentoring and sheer force of will, one of America’s most remarkable success stories.
It doesn't take long to see that Temple Grandin, the main character in this eponymous HBO movie, is, well, different--she (in the person of Claire Danes, who plays her) tells us before the credits start that she's "not like other people." But "different" is not "less." Indeed, Grandin, who is now in her 60s, has accomplished a good deal more than a great many "normal" folks, let alone others afflicted with the autism that Grandin overcame on her way to earning a doctorate and becoming a bestselling author and a pioneer in the humane treatment of livestock. It wasn't easy. The doctor who diagnosed her at age 4 said she'd never talk and would have to be institutionalized. Only through the dogged efforts of her mother (Julia Ormond), who was told that "lack of bonding" with her child might have caused the autism, did Grandin learn to speak; to go to high school, college, and grad school; and to become a highly productive scientist, enduring the cruel taunts of her classmates and the resistance of many of the adults in her life (most of whom are shown as either narrow-minded prigs or macho, chauvinist jerks). Her lack of social skills and sometimes violent reactions to the overstimulation in her environment made it tough to fit in, to say the least. Danes, who is in nearly every scene of director Mick Jackson's film, is remarkable, embodying Grandin's various idiosyncrasies (such as talking, too loud, too fast, and too much) without resorting to caricature. Jackson does a marvelous job of depicting not only her actual accomplishments (among other things, she took the "squeeze machine" created to "gentle" upset cattle and adapted it for herself, using it to replace the hugs she never got as a child; later on, she revolutionized the systems used to prepare cows for slaughter, as well as the design of the slaughterhouses themselves), but also her more abstract talents, especially the extraordinary visual acuity that enables her to remember virtually everything she's ever seen. This is mostly Danes's film, but the whole cast is top-notch, especially Ormond, Catherine O'Hara as Temple's aunt, and David Strathairn as one of the few teachers who saw Grandin's potential. Captivating, compelling, and thoroughly entertaining, Temple Grandin is highly recommended. --Sam Graham
The Making of Temple Grandin
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My family raised dairy cows; my grandfather founded an auction house ... I've seen how cows are (in many cases, thankfully, were) farmed, beginning to beyond the end, Auction houses terrified me--so much pandemonium and sadness in the ways people overrode what limited control the animal possessed. Slaughter houses appalled me, however much I love meat. Deafening mooing, the smell of fear, and then nothing but the clanking of chains and the gears of conveyors. Life had ended at its most frightened, cortisol-spiked moment. It's one of those things many of us would rather ignore. But Temple didn't. She wasn't fussed about killing cows for the meat they provided--Temple was nothing if not a pragmatist. Cows aren't zoo animals, as she says, they are food. Instead, she wanted to make sure we treated the lives of animals we depend on with respect. "Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be."
It wasn't the movie I was expecting, yet it was exactly the movie I was looking for at the time, and I will be forever grateful I didn't just browse past it.
This film accurately captures what it is like for me, at least. (Autism is extremely diverse, and what's true for one autistic won't be true for all) And I finally have something I can show my friends and family and point to and say "This is what I've been trying to explain."
Beyond the fact that I can simply relate to much of experiences and difficulties (at least in relation to autism), this film is extremely well made, and highly recommended. It is highly enjoyable and entertaining to watch regardless of whether or not you you have any connection to autism. Temple's life and character is an inspiration to all, and the lessons of her life can apply to anyone across the board.
It reminds me of that Bible Verse that says, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;"
Impaired Persons are not thought of as people who can do great things, in this day-and-age.
This Movie goes to show that, even when there are great challenges, if a person is persistent and tenacious, they can do Wonderful Things.
I question whether or not her learning ability is as significant as this movie portrays.
I mean, if she can really learn that quickly, she is a super-human.
I'm sure they speed things up for the sake of the film, but still, she really made a huge difference in the things she was involved in.
In any case, this is one of the Greatest Movies of all time, and it's so awesome that it's based on a Real Person.
Question: How can I, as a consumer, can ask a meat department... "Does this cow come from a Temple Grandin designed slaughterhouse?" because if given a choice, I'd rather consume that meat.
I believe she has done more, single handedly, than the SPCA or PETA, in reducing cruelty to animals from humans.
Thank you Dr. Grandin. You are an inspiration to everyone, not only those with autism. You are a blessed brilliant and beautiful star.