When Owen Suskind was three, his development took an unexpected turn for the worse. Eventually diagnosed with autism, his parents and older brother were desperate for a way to communicate with him, until they came to the stunning realization that Owen had memorized all of Disney's animated films. Life, Animated is the extraordinary story of how Owen uses those cartoons to relate to the world and his struggle to move out from his parents' home and stand on his own two feet.
Now in his early twenties, Owen is nervous but excited about starting the next chapter of his life. He's about to graduate from college, where he helps run a Disney club for other like-minded individuals, and his long-term girlfriend, Emily, is set to move into the apartment just upstairs from Owen.
He's come a long way from when was as a child. His father recalls how he was only able to have his first conversation with his son while wearing an Iago puppet and imitating the voice of Gilbert Gottfried from Aladdin. Couple this with run-ins with bullies at school, and being unable to keep up with the learning pace of other classmates, Owen endured a rather tumultuous childhood.
Director Roger Ross Williams (God Loves Uganda) adapts Ron Suskind's book with the aid of evocative, sketch-like animation and a number of Disney clips that not only help illuminate Owen's childhood, but also brings to life Owen's own stories he's written about a boy living on an island with Disney sidekicks. (The Archive)