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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.

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A United Kingdom is a truly inspiring film. The authenticity of Africa and Britain and the apartheid taking place during that time brought a very genuine feeling to a story based on truth. Rosamund Pike & David Oyelowo’s performances were flawless and their relationship was so believable. Sometimes I struggle with Rosamund Pike after seeing her in Gone Girl because she makes me feel a little uncomfortable, or even threatened in that film! Her acting ability is proven in A United Kingdom for me as she is a completely different person, still a strong woman but not scary, thank goodness!

I knew little about South African government and the apartheid before watching the film, besides the basics. After the screening I researched the true story of the Prince of Botswana and his white British wife to compare the facts to the film. Everything, even down to costume and cultural references, was accurate to the real situation taking place in Bechuanaland.

The opening shot of the film is an extreme close up of a fountain pen scribbling on coarse, textured paper with the distinct scratching sound beneath the opening monologue. From this moment on I knew the film was, if anything, going to be picture perfect with outstanding cinematography. Thankfully, I was right and it was so much more than that: an inspirational story of a couple defying all odds and pursuing their wishes and dreams, despite the thoughts of the rest of the world around them.

Amma Asante has created an outstanding film out of a heartbreaking racial and political situation of the 1940s. I am particularly influenced by Asante as she is a British female film director, of which there are very few making feature films with theatrical releases. I hope to see more female directors in my lifetime as influential as Asante and I am excited to see what she does next!