Temple Grandin is an HBO film directed by Mick Johnson and debuted on February 6, 2010 with the four major casts: Claire Danes as Temple Grandin; Julia Ormond as Eustacia Grandin and Temple’s mother; Catherine O’Hara as Aunt Ann, Temple’s Aunt and sister of Eustacia Grandin; and David Straithairn as Dr. Carlock, Temple’s boarding school science teacher and mentor whose efforts shared an heartwarming film and gave a new perspective for autism.
Temple Grandin is an autistic woman with an amazing visual skills and she created new innovations on how to handle the animals in a humane way in the cattle ranches and slaughterhouses before they are placed for meat butchering. Temple is not like other people. She thinks with pictures and she connects them in her head. This is how she sees her environment. Going down the plane, she reacted how warm the place is and said it’s hot and she can see the heat literally. Temple asked her Aunt Ann and said, “Do people live here? ” Like any ordinary person. No person can see the heat unlike for Temple’s visual description.
A person can only feel the warm feeling but for Temple, she can see it vividly like pictures in her head. While Temple was telling a story to her Aunt Ann and repeats the same statement, “Would you like me to open the gate”. She observed the ranch where her Aunt Ann and Uncle Mike’s lives. They reached the front gate and her Aunt Ann asked her to open the gate. She was amazed to see different animals in her Aunt Ann’s ranch. While she was closing the gate, she was thinking already in her head how she can make calculations, designs and innovations for a new gate.
She was introduced to her Uncle Mike and to a working ranch handler. To Temple’s mind, he sees the guy as a cowboy. As part of her learning, she was reminded of her manners. Temple has no eye contact with the people whom she is introduced. She showed quite an attitude about unfamiliarity like when she was unsure if the room given to her is her room. At dinner, she was focused and looking at the aquarium oxygen filter that is making a loud sound. She does not like to eat food that are high in cholesterol and preferred food like jello-yougurt.
Temple is able to define differences in a material like when her Aunt Ann asked her to organize the spoons and forks. She can identify with details. After the dinner, her aunt said that “we get up with the rooster around here. ” Temple vividly saw in her mind that both her Aunt Ann and Uncle Mike get up together with the rooster to let people know its morning. Temple does like to be hugged and her Aunt Ann was reminded of ‘No Hugs’ that identifies with one of the characteristic of a child of autism. Temple likes observing mechanical materials like the exhaust window in her room.
She started working with calculations and designs for her Aunt Ann’s new gate. While feeding and observing the horses, she was explaining to her Aunt Ann that the horse is looking directly at them or to the cowboys with the horse’s wiggling and pointing ears. Another incident that caught her attention was how the cow handlers handle the cows and placing them in the cattle crush, a device that hugs them to calm them. Temple shows more understanding and closeness to animals than people. She returns in her room and she is unable to identify her room, she panicked and run fasts to the cattle crush for her to be calmed.
Eustacia Grandin, Temple’s mother rushed in to her sister’s ranch to let her know that college is waiting for her. In Temple’s dorm room, she was asking her mother about someone as her roommate and having panic attacks. Her mother left and close the door for Temple‘s space. Flashbacks returns as her mother remembers Temple’s childhood. Before that, Temple was diagnosed with classic autism, a severe case of autism in which she seemed aloof, lacked eye contact, had no language, and avoided human affection and touch.
The diagnostician explained to Temple’s mother that her daughter have autism, as a form of schizophrenia, blaming mothers as the cause for the disorder and claiming that they were cold and aloof toward their autistic child, naming them “refrigerator mothers”. The diagnostician suggested placing Temple in an institution. Temple’s mother refused to address the concern of the diagnostician instead made her efforts to teach Temple herself. As observed in this film, when Temple was little, she lacks focused while her mother tries to teach her how to read and identify the pictures.
Temple had difficulty in college and students do not understand her situation like when she was asked to read her book in their French class. The teacher was surprised when she memorized the content of the page assigned to her to read. Since then her classmates relates to her differently. A scene in their cafeteria when Temples starts to feel nervous or into panic attack due to loud noise, too crowded and her fear of automatic doors. She made a design of her own cattle crush in her room to make herself calm but people misunderstood her need to be hugged.
The people in her college discouraged it and made her more frustrated the more. Her Aunt Ann pleaded to the college administrator. Temple’s persistent to have the device in her room. She suggested having her own science research to her dorm mates. Unfortunately, her teacher did not believe in her effort to produce a very comprehensive research. During the time in her high school, her mother brought her to New Hampshire boarding school where Temple met Dr. Carlock. She was her science teacher as well as her mentor. She immediately had her interests in science.
Her mother talked to the boarding school administrators told them the need for her to be transferred because her daughter was expelled in her former school. Her mother was talking about an incident that happened in her former school. Due to Temple’s unusual behavior i. e. spinning to comfort her, talks fast and panic attacks. Her classmates were taunted, made fun of her and constantly bullied her in her previous school that pushes her to her limit and was provoked that lead Temple to hit her classmate with a book. Dr. Carlock showed great interest in Temple and knows that she is ifferent but has potentials to succeed. It strikes me most when Temple mother said to Dr. Carlock that Temple is “different but not less. ” It only shows how much a mother loves her daughter that she would do anything to protect her child from people who do not understand Temple’s plight. She does not have friends in school since she does not like to be touched by anyone. She had difficulty in class relating to the topic being discussed in class like when she was asked to read but had the picture in mind in different perspectives.
She turned her attention to a horse named Chestnut. When some students try to play with her, she acts on it violently and end up being reprimanded by the school administrator. She shows no empathy when the horse died named Chestnut. She cannot understand the concept of death and where the souls of animals go. Dr. Carlock explained to her that they stay in our mind remembering them even if they are no longer be part of this world. Dr. Carlock believes in her capacity to think visually unlike for her other subject teachers. Dr.
Carlock asks the permission of the other teachers to work with Temple and discovers her potentials. Dr. Carlock required all her students to make a report of optical illusions. He challenged Temple to make a model of visual optical illusions to answer all her questions regarding the matter. She made several models for the visual perspective but failed to make it. Since she thinks visually, Dr. Carlock gave her hints on how to make it. She successfully made a perfect visual optical illusion. Dr. Carlock said a striking statement, “Temple, you have a very special mind.
You see the world in ways where others can’t. It’s quite an advantage”. Dr. Carlock emphasized college and suggested that Temple can “think of it as a door, a door that can open up to a whole new world for her and all she need to do is to decide to get through it” that made Temple the best that she could be. Temple developed a friendship with her blind roommate. She was hesitant to be touched by her roommate but learned that it was normal and fine to be near with someone. She was able to get through college with the help of her ‘squeeze hug machine’.
Eventually, she graduated from college. Then another door opened for her when she decided to do her master thesis on animal husbandry and revolutionalized a new dip, and alters a slaughterhouse for cows so that it is much more humane. A significant statement that she shared to the slaughterhouse workers and said, “Nature is cruel. We don’t have to be one. We owe them some respect. I touched the first cow it was being stunned. For a few second its gonna be just a piece of beef. But in that moment it was still an individual. It was calmed then it was gone.
I became aware of how precious life was and I thought about death and I felt how I am close to God. Temple said to her blind roommate, “I don’t want my thoughts to die with me. I want done something. You’re the one person I want you’re here. Other people would be overwhelmed with what they’re seeing or confusion. I know that you’re the only one who sense what is really going on and who could feel what I am trying to accomplish. I know that there are a lot of things I cannot understand but I still want my life to have meaning. It was inspiring and a revelation of one’s commitment to make difference in the animal husbandry industry, in their community, in the society and the whole world. The film concludes with an autism fair convention, which Temple and her mother attend. Temple acknowledged that she is autistic, will always be autistic and different from the rest of the world but that did not stop her to succeed in her endeavors. Temple speaks out from the crowd and tells the audience how she overcame her difficulties and was able to achieve academically, as well as how her mother helped her. The people become so interested that they request Temple to speak in front of the auditorium.
The movie highlights Temple’s mother unconditional love and perseverance that gave her Temple a chance to live normally and be able to stand self sufficiently. If it wasn’t for Temple’s mother, she would have been institutionalized and living her life in difficulties and considered as a social outcast. I admired her mother’s courage to stand for what she believes in and for what is good for her daughter. This movie addresses to all students, teachers and parents who has been with autism that it will serve as inspiration and as a guide.