Sunday, April 4, 2010

Movie that Matters

April is Autism Awareness month. Autism: The Musical will be showing on April 25th at 4:30 pm at the Lynwood Theatre on Bainbridge Island.
This inspiring documentary follows the trials and triumphs of a group of autistic children who attempt to create and perform their own musical. Autism: The Musical begins with the sobering statistic that, a decade ago, doctors diagnosed autism in only one child in 10,000, but today one in 100 children is affected by the disorder. But things look up from there. Though each child in the film struggles with his or her individual challenges, this documentary provides an ultimately hopeful picture. Inspired by her autistic son's response to creative play, single mother Elaine Hall organizes the Miracle Project, which unites autistic children and their families in the creation of a musical. Autism: The Musical focuses on five children: energetic Henry, who boasts encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaurs and reptiles; quiet, angel-voiced Lexi; girl-crazy Adam, an enthusiastic cello player; Neal, Elaine's son, who is nearly silent; and chatty Wyatt, who endures bullying at school. By featuring a variety of kids whose autism is manifested in unique ways, the film gives a well-rounded picture of the disorder and its effects on families. Autism: The Musical bounces between each child's history and his or her present efforts at the Miracle Project in Los Angeles. It echoes past documentary hits such as Spellbound, but the children here have very different challenges. Audiences watching the film can expect tears of heartache at their plight, but each will be balanced by peals of laughter at the antics of the lovable children.

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