Thursday, March 3, 2011

Temple Grandin

Which studio makes the best movies? Is it Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox or Paramount? I believe it is none of the above. These days, the most interesting and creative movies can be found on HBO. They have a knack for finding good material that others pass over. But what I think gives HBO Films an edge over other studios is their willingness to give filmmakers artistic freedom to create movies without interference.

One of the latest films that fits into this category from HBO is Temple Grandin. Based on a true story, Temple Grandin revolutionized the cattle industry by her analysis and understanding of livestock behavior. In the film version of her life, Claire Danes, portrays Temple. She is a troubled child, rejecting physical touch and detached from emotion. At six years of age, she was diagnosed as autistic. At the time, in the 1950s, the medical profession did not fully comprehend or understand autism. They suggested to her mother, Eustacia (Julia Ormond) that she be institutionalized. But Temple’s mother was determined to give her a normal life no matter how difficult that may be.

Temple’s mother expresses one of the major themes that makes this film incredibly important and powerful. Although Temple is different, her mother believes, and rightfully so, that she is not less and should be treated with respect and dignity.

If we could only understand that message, what a world we could live in. The fact is we are all different in some way. Temple overcomes her learning difficulties and excels through the help of her mentor, Professor Carlock, played by the versatile David Strathairn. He discovers a way to unlock Temple’s potential through the use of her unusual visual skills.

Also lending a hand of support to Temple is her Aunt Anna (Catherine O’Hara) who lives in Arizona on a cattle ranch. It’s here that things really start to come together for Temple. She is attracted and feels at home with the cattle, especially a device that hugs the cows that somehow has the ability to gentle them. Temple finds comfort in the device as a means to escape her autism. Without giving away too much of the story, Temple excels and finds her unique place in the world.

I know what you are thinking. Its sounds like Temple Grandin is your typical disease of the week movie. You couldn’t be more mistaken. This is a brilliant film, a biography that is full of beauty, grace and the determination of the human spirit. The acting is quite frankly off the chart. It’s on a completely different level. Claire Danes is nothing short of brilliant. And the supporting cast is just as good.

Under the careful hand of director, Nick Jackson, this film finds its own unique style that takes us into the mind of Temple as she sees the world. I can’t stress enough the pure genius of Temple Grandin. This is one film that will uplift your spirit. No matter what situation you may face or whatever difficulties you may encounter, anything is possible.

Temple Grandin proves that life can be wonderful despite challenges and obstacles. I’m sure you will be inspired with a new appreciation for the wonders of life and God’s unique handiwork, which is in full display in this remarkable and important film.

Temple Grandin has been well received as it won several Emmys that included Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director. It’s continued proof for HBO’s commitment to excellence and quality. If you went to the movie theater and spent $10, you would not find a better film than Temple Grandin. It’s that good.

It is currently available on DVD but may be difficult to find. It’s one of those films I’m sure you’ve heard little or nothing about. But, trust me. This one is worth your time and your money.

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