Temple Grandin (rated PG) is an Emmy Award winning HBO biopic of a high-functioning autistic woman named Temple Grandin. Directed by Mick Jackson, “Temple Grandin” stars Claire Danes as the title character. We meet Temple Grandin the summer after her high school graduation as she prepares to leave for college. The director uses a series of flashbacks from Temple’s childhood and high school days to draw the audience into her world as an autistic woman growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. These flashbacks include a series of pictures which are meant to show us that because she is autistic Temple’s brain processes information completely differently then you or I would, all the while finding answers to difficult problems a person of average intelligence could not comprehend. A difficult science project would become an obsession for Temple until she had conquered the challenge, while you or I would have given up long before. Not only are these flashbacks used as a display for Temple’s brilliance, but we also learn that normal interactions with other humans (such as a hug) leave her flustered and distressed almost beyond repair.
Through the careful guidance and tireless help of family and teachers, Temple goes on to graduate not only from high school, but earned a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate. While studying for her Master of Science in Animal Science from Arizona State University in the early 1970’s, Temple developed more humane ways to handle livestock. This is not an animal rights film. The cattle are still butchered; however, Temple’s work revolutionized common practices in slaughter plants and livestock farms saving the ranchers money and time. Her practices are still widely used today.
I highly recommend this movie. Admittedly I watched it without knowing what it was about and was pleasantly surprised. Having been personally touched by children with autism I cried at the struggles Temple faced to simply learn in a classroom setting or have a normal conversation at a Christmas party. Claire Danes shines as Temple Grandin and obviously put her heart and soul into the role that not only brings awareness to autism, but also to the work Temple Grandin has done in the field of livestock that inadvertently affects all meat eaters….Stephanie Spurgetis