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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Autism: The Musical

I know. I know. It sounds like a musical spoof in really bad taste. That was exactly what I thought when I saw the cover of the DVD over at the new Eloise May Library. I flipped over the cover to see that this was, in fact, a rather unfortunately-named documentary about the process of putting on a musical production featuring kids with autism.
Now, as you may or may not know, I am a supporter of Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of America and a firm believer that the performing arts is an important ingredient of childhood development, so, sappy and sentimental as I was sure it would be, I was intrigued, so I decided to check it out.
What I got instead was one of the most frank, honest, uncompromising, and moving portraits of families living with autism that I have seen so far. As much as I thought I knew about autism, my eyes were opened just a bit wider.
If you know someone with autism or even if you think that autism is Dustin Hoffman counting fallen toothpicks in a roadside diner, I really think you should see this film.
I don't want to rob you of the experience that I had in discovering this movie, so I won't give away too much here. I really do want you to see this movie.
However, let me just say that, if you are a fan of Stephen Schwartz's musical, Wicked, you haven't grasped the full depth of "I'm Not That Girl" until you've heard it sung by a fourteen-year-old girl with autism.
See the movie. Trust me. Autism: The Musical. Have I steered you wrong yet?

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