Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Life, Animated' Depicts the Extent to Which Love and Caring Can Turn a Life Around

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Life, Animated' Depicts the Extent to Which Love and Caring Can Turn a Life Around

Article excerpt

When Owen Suskind was three years old, his parents noticed that he was not connecting with the world in the usual ways. His speech was mostly gibberish and his interactions with his family, including his older brother, were troublesome. Eventually he was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is thought to be associated with autism.

"Life, Animated," Roger Ross Williams's documentary, is inspired by the nonfiction book by Owen's father Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. It records the remarkable transformation that occurred with the boy after it was discovered that he could recount from memory entire soundtracks from his cherished Disney animated movies, including mimicking the voices of his favorite characters. Ron and his wife, Cornelia, realized that Owen registered the life around him in terms taken from Disney plot lines. It was his way of making sense of the world and delighting in it.

Because the Suskinds filmed reams of home movie footage of Owen from babyhood onward, "Life, Animated" has a panoramic scope. …

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