Have you seen the HBO movie Temple Grandin yet? If not, drop what you are doing, run check your HBO schedule, or your Netflix que, or head to the video store, but somehow, get your hands on a copy of this movie.

Claire Danes, supported by Julia Ormond, Catherine O'hara and David Strathairn, does a remarkable job playing title character Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who was born before doctors had any clue what autism was about. At the time, most believed it to be some form of pediatric schizophrenia, brought on by the mother's failure to bond with her infant, and parents were encouraged to lock the child away in an institution. Fortunately for the world, Temple's mother refused to listen to them.

One of the current catch phrases that you hear bandied about is "being present", and this movie brought the meaning of that home to me in a big way. I once read something, written by the father of a special needs child, which compared the experience to embarking on a long anticipated vacation - one you have been saving for and planning for years - only for some reason, your plane gets diverted and dumps you in a completely different country from the one you were expecting. Now you have two choices. You can spend the entire vacation feeling sorry for yourself, finding fault, focusing on what this country lacks in comparison to the other and being absolutely miserable. Or, you can let go of all that, and just be present. If you can do that, you might find that this country is an amazing place in its own right. Different, but not less.

Temple, who didn't even learn to talk until she was four years old, ended up earning a PhD. Because her mother, aunt, and a very special teacher were "present", they came to realize that Temple's brain was just wired differently than most. She had a photographic memory, and saw the world in pictures - pictures which she could connect and rearrange in her head. She also had a special affinity for animals. Though she found it almost impossible to read the subtle signals that humans sent out, she had no problem at all when it came to recognizing the cries of cattle in distress. She could also see patterns in their movements that changed in reaction to different stimuli, all of which lead her to design systems that revolutionized the way cattle are handled in many stockyards and slaughterhouses today. She was different. Not less.

P.S. Many thanks to tvworthwatching.com for the above image.
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Reviewed by juragan asem
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Rating : 4.5