Monday, October 1, 2012
No, this documentary has nothing to with a bunch of theater actors singing about austim. But when I read the title, the thought crossed my mind for a split second.
"Autism: The Musical" follows Elaine Hall and her Los Angeles based, musical theater program for kids with autism, The Miracle Project. The main story is Elaine's challenge to prepare five of the kids for an upcoming musical performance. Here's why she became so involved with autism: Elaine adopted a Russian baby who was later diagnosed with the developmental disorder. After years of being a stay-at-home mom, and taking care of her son, Neal, she went through a divorce and had no other choice but to go back to work. She was afraid to be apart from Neal, so the perfect solution was to start a theater program for kids with autism.
It was both touching and amusing to get to know the five kids. One of them, Henry, had an obsession with dinosaurs and that is, LITERALLY, all he talked about -at an incredible speed too. Another kid, Wyatt, made me laugh a couple of times with his inappropriate comments, one of them relating to his genitals.
The story itself is very uplifting. It was cool to see that there are people out there trying to include these kids more in normal activities. Just because they have autism, doesn't mean all they do is sit in a room rocking back and forth. They have huge talents that, with the help of very patient people such as Elaine, they can exploit and amaze their communities.
This documentary is good to watch on a Sunday morning, when the mood is right, though I found myself fast forwarding through some parts. But, if you are interested enough to see how the musical turned out, go to Casa and rent a copy. Here's what The New York Times had to say about it.