Life Animated was the opening night film at the 2016 Milwaukee Film Fest. The film, an inspiring documentary about an autistic boy who learned how to communicate through Disney animated films played before a packed house. Based on the book by Ron Suskind about his son Owen, Academy Award winning director Roger Ross Williams chronicled Owen's life with well crafted storytelling.
When Owen Suskind was a young boy, he was diagnosed with Autism. One day, he stopped communicating with words to his family. when Owen started repeating words quoted form a Disney film, his father then realized his affinity to the animated films. Roger Ross Williams who won an Academy Award for his short documentary "Music By Prudence" crafts another Academy Award worthy film with Life Animated. Flat out, I loved this film.
Owen is one of the most likable people chronicled in a documentary I've seen in a long time. There is an innocence about him, an aura he emits that makes you like him and care about him.
The amazing fact is that that Owen has memorized every single Disney animated film he has seen. Able to recite and quote word for word is a remarkable task for anyone. That alone would make a great documentary. Owen even turned his passion for Disney into a special Disney club for other's who share the same passion. Owen leads the club of friends with wit and humor. It is one of the highlights of the film watching these interactions.
With home video footage, Williams is able to tell Owen's story and how he has progressed. From the beginning to current day, his journey is detailed. Owen pulls on our heart strings when he is away from his beloved girlfriend and we cheer for him when he is on a job interview. The documentary does more than just explain how he learned how to talk through Disney films. It really is the story of Owen and Owen's story is a great one.