‘Life, Animated’ is a Joyous Documentary About the Transcendent Power of Movies

VANAPHASE™ the Vanadium powerhouse!


It can be easy to be cynical towards Disney. The behemoth of children’s entertainment has made an imprint on our culture landscape, and the gigantic corporation seems to swallow up certain aspects of our culture in order to churn out cheap plastic trinkets, video games, and movie-themed rides at their amusement parks. But there’s a genuine connection that people make to the animated world of Walt Disney, and people of all ages carry that connection with them for most of their lives. One individual who identified with the anthropomorphic characters of Disney’s animated films is Owen Suskind, an autistic man in his early 20 who has spent his life bonding with Disney movies. His story is documented in the new film Life, Animated, which explores Owen’s life in a moment of transition and how his connection to Disney gave him and his family hope even during the most trying of times.

Owen’s young life isn’t that different than the lives of many other children. He laughed. He played. He was the apple of his parents’ eyes. Then at the age of 3, Owen suffered problems with his speech and motor functions. He was diagnosed as autistic. Years passed and his dear parents Ron and Cornelia Suskind saw no improvement in their young son. Specialists and doctors gave them no new answers, and their hearts sank when faced with the sad realization that their son may be beyond help. One day, the young Owen began to speak to his father, trying to a form a sentence despite the difficulty with pronunciation. It was then that they realized that Owen was trying to speak a line of dialogue form Aladdin, the early ‘90s animated cartoon. Over time, Owen was able to gain communication skills from Disney movies and narratives of the films gave him understanding as to the nature of the world.

At 23, Owen is ready to leave his life at home and venture out on his own. He’s about to graduate from his school and move into his own apartment nearly 70 miles from his parents’ home. Owen is about to step out into an unknown world yet always retains the comfort of the Disney animated movies, even when his girlfriend of three years dumps him. Despite all of his struggles, Owen strives for normalcy and friendships. He’s even given the opportunity to speak at a conference on autism in Rennes, France.

The film by director Roger Ross Williams takes its inspiration from the book Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Ron Suskind. One of the most interesting aspects of Owen’s story is how he bonded closest with the sidekicks of the Disney movies, even going as far to write his own story The Land of the Lost Sidekicks which appears in animated form in the movie. In the story Owen injects a sense of autobiography as he cavorts with his favorite animated sidekicks. Always feeling an outcast, Owen doesn’t view himself as the leading man in any of the Disney films which he loves, so he crafted his own story of sidekicks where he could emerge as the hero. As with much of the film, it really has the ability to tug on the heart strings.

Life, Animated doesn’t always tell its story in the most cinematic of fashion, but those deficiencies are obscured by the charismatic, lovable Owen. When the camera peers upon him watching a movie, mouthing every word of dialogue in sync, the joy in his eyes leaps through the screen and it’s impossible not to revel in the his visceral excitement. One of the most entertaining parts of the film is when Jonathan Freeman and Gilbert Gottfried (voices of the villainous Jafar and Iago in Aladdin) make an appearance at the Disney club that Owen has organized. There’s just something so amusing and heartwarming about this young man being beyond thrilled at the chance to meet Gilbert Gottfried, and the legendary comedian feeds off Owen’s joyous aura and freely riffs zingers. It’s moments like these that make Life, Animated a worthwhile viewing experience.

When it seems that the public discussion concerning autism is typically relegated to the nonsensical debate over vaccines, a film like Life, Animated is welcome addition to the discussion. This isn’t a movie that tries to peddle pseudoscience or answers to questions that have no solutions. Here is a movie that is about love, compassion, and the power of the movies. It’s impossible not to well up a little bit at some of the film’s more trying moments and impossible not to laugh and smile at its more joyous ones. It doesn’t matter if you love the animated films of Disney or see them as crude pieces of profiteering, when you see what these movies do to buoy the soul of Owen Suskind, they’ve proved their value is beyond the bottom line.


Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Amazon Studios Greenlights Invincible from The Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman

Amazon Studios greenlights Invincible, from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman,...

The Catcher Was a Spy
‘The Catcher Was a Spy’ Turns an Amazing True Story Into a Mediocre Movie

Being a baseball fan means that you’re keenly aware of the...

Is She or Isn’t She? Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Unsane’ Arrives on Blu-ray

All film lovers should be grateful that Steven Soderbergh’s self-imposed retirement...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
LGBTQ Video Game Archives
Temple Professor Helps Launch First Exhibit of LGBTQ Video Game Archives

Temple University’s Dr. Adrienne Shaw is serving as a curator in her role...

Talking Tom Jetski2
Take a Virtual Beach Break with Talking Tom Jetski 2

Outfit7 celebrates 8 billion downloads of its mobile games with the...

PowerA Xbox One
Up Your Game with New Enhanced PowerA Xbox One Controllers

Up your game and get ready for the upcoming Xbox Exclusive...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Batman / The Maxx: Arkham Dreams
Sam Kieth Makes Long-Awaited Return to The Outback in Batman / The Maxx: Arkham Dreams

SAN DIEGO, CA and BURBANK, CA (June 21, 2018) – Batman...

Wrestling Writer Legends Bill Apter & Gary Morgenstein Announce, ‘The Last Wrestler’

To names that are synonymous with professional wrestling journalism and well...

thousand year beach
The Thousand Year Beach – Viz Media Debuts Acclaimed Sci-Fi Novel

“The Thousand Year Beach presents an idyllic virtual world, still running...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Solo Lightweight Backpacks
Solo Lightweight Backpacks for the Late Summer Heat

Beat the heat with the new line of Solo lightweight backpacks: Peak,...

Out Of Space on Your Xbox One? Fantom Drives Has Your Back

Fantom Drives will ensure you have enough space on your Xbox...

New Toast Covers
A Toast to New Toast Covers, Now Covering More Than Tech

Raise your glasses for a toast to New Toast Covers for the...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Jeanie Buss & MGM TV Tags AXS TV to Broadcast WOW-Women of Wrestling Events

Jeanie Buss and MGM Television Tags AXS TV to Broadcast WOW-Women...

Kevin Belington Faces Martin Nguyen for the ONE FC Interim Bantamweight Title

From ONE FC – 07 June 2018 – Manila, Philippines: The...

Showtime to Air ‘Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller’ Mauro Ranallo Doc on May 25th

From Bellator MMA and Showtime – New York – April 30,...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Cultural Junkdrawer – Season’s end: The Flash season 4


Adult Continuity Issue #13 – Avengers XXX – A porn parody

I review AvengersXXX and make masturbation jokes. Be smart with your Fapdollar(tm);...

Comics on the can – Black Panther (Priest run) Issue #46

Comics on the can muses about Black Panther during Priest's legendary...

Event News Event Reviews
Mr. Mercedes Immersive Experience
AT&T Audience Network Bringing Mr. Mercedes Immersive Experience to SDCC

AT&T AUDIENCE Network to Bring ‘Mr. Mercedes Immersive Experience’ and Show...

Shout! Factory Anime Expo 2018
Shout! Factory Anime Expo 2018 Lineup Has Big Brands and Big Names

Shout! Factory Anime Expo 2018 lineup includes interactive fan activities, exciting...

Flavors of Youth
Netflix Premiering New Original Anime Flavors of Youth at AX2018

Netflix will host the world premiere screening of their new anime...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack
Blake Neely Behind-the-Scenes Recording of Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack

Check out this exclusive Behind-The-Scenes video with Blake Neely as he...

Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

%d bloggers like this: