There are few things more inspiring than watching people overcome the barriers that many feel should hold them back. Not only do these characters have to overcome their own difficulties, but they also often have to overcome other people’s attitudes towards them. The following films represent how, despite the challenges that can come with having special needs, life can remain rewarding in many ways. Here are four very highly regarded special needs movies.
1. Forrest Gump
First on our list of special needs movies is a man with an IQ of approximately 75, Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump is likely to be regarded as unfortunate by some, but this doesn’t stop him from living a life full of adventure that most of us can only dream of. In the film, Gump exposes the viewer to many of his life experiences, which he shares happily with Jenny, a long time crush who has been with him throughout his childhood tribulations and beyond. The film shows that despite his limited capabilities, Gump still has the power to impact many lives in a positive way. It also shows just what a gift being able to see life through innocent eyes can be, and how love and loyalty can conquer all.
2. My Left Foot
Imagine living a life where all you could do is move your left foot. This was the life of Christy Brown, who is portrayed in this movie by Daniel Day Lewis. Brown’s fighting spirit shines through and he goes on to be a successful poet, author and painter, in addition to dealing with the everyday challenges that life throws at him. The film portrays the immense physical challenges that come along with living with a disability, but it also shows how determination and a will to succeed can play a part in overcoming our own personal barriers.
3. Rain Man
Car dealer, Charlie Babbitt, is introduced to his autistic brother Raymond, a brother that he never knew existed until after his father’s funeral. Initially, Babbitt’s plots out to kidnap Raymond in order to get some of the inheritance he thinks he’s entitled to. However, as Babbitt gets to know Raymond better, his attitude towards him, and to life in general, starts to change. The movie shows us that blood is thicker than water, and despite obvious differences, the ties that bind us will remain.
This movie may might not have got the attention it deserves at the movie theaters, but it it still often regarded as one of Mel Gibson’s finest films. Set in Australia, Gibson stars as Tim Melville, a young man with learning difficulties who falls in love with the older woman he is working for.
The movie does an excellent job of highlighting the complexities of relationships as a whole, but with the added dimension of one half of the couple living with learning difficulties. It also highlights some of the common attitudes and concerns over such a relationship, and how love can change us.