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film review

Life, Animated is a coming of age story about a boy and his family who overcame great challenges by turning Disney animated movies into a language to express love, loss, kinship and brotherhood.

In Roger Ross Williams's new documentary, Life, Animated, Owen Suskind experiences the world through Disney animated films, but his life is no fairy tale. The movie follows Owen, a young man with autism, from his early years to present day, as he learns how to cope with his disorder and the world around him with the help of Disney animated films. Based on a book by Owen's father, journalist Ron Suskind, the movie mirrors Owen's mind, as it effortlessly blends present-day footage with animated Disney clips. It also weaves old home videos into the narrative, and new animated sketches, which bring the story Owen has written about himself to life: Land of the Lost Sidekicks, about how Owen feels he will always be a sidekick, never a hero. Williams's film provides a snapshot of what life is like for this family and successfully takes viewers through the roller coaster of emotions the family experiences. Most importantly, it manages to be heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once.