Life, Animated is a special documentary about coping and developing as an adult with autism. I have grown up learning about autism because my mum worked in a school for 12 years of my childhood specifically working with children with autism and additional needs. As soon as I saw the trailer for this film I knew it was one she and I would enjoy, so we went together!
The story follows Owen and his journey into adulthood through graduating high school and moving into assisted living, away from his parents and brother. Owen, when he was very young, stopped communicating with his family all together. He watched Disney films on repeat, rewinding and fast forwarding over his favourite scenes. Owen’s parents struggled with his lack of communication and it took several years until he spoke… but when he did, he spoke fluently in sentences as if he had been speaking the entire time.
The use of Disney imagery, music and audio brings the film to life in the sense that we gain an understanding of Owen’s love for the characters and messages delivered in these films. At relevant points throughout the documentary an animation is created of Owen based from a story he had written about sidekicks. Owen has always favoured the sidekicks over the heroes in his favourite stories and I think this says a lot about his outlook on his own life.
The support Owen has from his family, school, and doctors is incredible and he is a very lucky man. I hope this documentary raises awareness of autism and brings hope to parents of children who may be struggling with their own communication or other autistic difficulties.