We all love a Disney movie. Many childhoods have been warmed by their glow and generations are defined by what set of Disney characters are close to their hearts. For older viewers, the animals of Bambi and The Jungle Book were childhood friends, for the youngest among us perhaps the liberated women of Frozen and Moana provide inspiration. Owen Suskind, however, found more in the Disney universe than most, rescuing him from what his father calls “the prison of autism”.
Aladdin, The Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame didn’t just give Owen brightly coloured escapism, but a vocabulary and framework with which to make sense with his world and communicate with his friends. Each film has a specific theme that helps Owen relate and Owen was particularly drawn to the figure of the sidekick, fancying himself as the defender of the sidekicks. The story he writes becomes a film within a film, a cartoon in which he is the hero.
Life, Animated is in UK cinemas and on demand from this Friday. dogwoof.com/lifeanimated