Temple Grandin

I 'stumbled' upon this movie when I saw my sister watching it the other day and was intrigued when she told me that Claire Danes was in it, and she is portraying a lady who is autistic. Yes, I watched these movies to see how the actors / actresses play a difficult role...don't we all? But, as the movie progresses along, what caught my attention was not just Claire Danes' acting, but the whole story about a woman who is just brilliant at what she does, and yet is always ostracized by society because she is different. 

This movie is based on the real life of Temple Grandin, a high-functioning autistic woman who works in animal science (and has a PhD to prove it!) and her struggles in coping with our 'normal' society, from her school days to eventually her degrees in animal science and how she influenced humane slaughterhouses. It is really fascinating to see the world from her eyes as she really does see things so differently....some are very literal, while her attention to details and visuals are astounding. The film also talks about her 'quirks' like not liking touches or hugs from other people and how she copes with it. Watch out for a scene where she finds an alternative to being soothed and calmed...while a little eccentric, the effect on her just makes you go, 'Wow!'

While at times some of the things portrayed is kind of stereotypical of the autism spectrum, kudos should also be given to the film makers in their interpretation of Temple's thought process. Thoughts can be so abstract at times, not to mention coming from someone who doesn't really get the puns and sayings thrown at them...and the film makers did a great job in not making it look ridiculous. Rather, it's quite artistic with a little sense of humour injected into it. One has to watch it to believe it!

Another thing that I really like is the side story of how Temple designed a system that is more efficient and humane for slaughterhouses to dip and lead the cattle to slaughter. Her insight into animal welfare is amazing, especially so because her autism enables her to view things so differently from a normal human. One of her greatest lines that I respect reads:

"I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right. We've got to give those animals a decent life and we've got to give them a painless death. We owe the animals respect."

Claire Danes with the realTemple Grandin!

Of course, special mention needs to be given to Claire Danes who portrays Temple so realistically you can't really recognize her until someone mentions to you that it's Claire Danes. Definitely not just a pretty face as she earns award nominations for her portrayal of Temple...and yet it's funny that it takes a movie like this to let people know that she is a serious actress instead of being taken seriously from the get go. All because she was blessed with good genes! Life is as such, isn't it? Anyway, I digress...

All in all, "Temple Grandin" is a must watch. Don't think that it'll be showing in cinemas here, so if you're smart you'll know where to look. *wink* This movie also got me Googling for Temple and the work that she does for animal science and autism. Really liked one of her speeches in TED regarding different kinds of minds...check it out if you can!

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