A lot of people have misconceptions about autism. So while it may be hard to prove, the following movies would help disprove some of these myths by showing the person on the spectrum in a realistic light and highlighting their strengths and struggles.
Movies about Autism
1. Rainman (1988)
This Oscar-winning movie is based on a true story about an autistic savant, Raymond Babbitt — also known as Raymond ‘Bob’ VelJohnson, who is also autistic — playing an iconic role as Charlie ‘The Rainmaker.’ The character struggles to integrate into society and has trouble with everyday tasks such as reading facial expressions or following simple directions. Yet, at the same time, he has an extraordinary ability to memorize numbers and is a genius in calendar calculations. This movie also shows his father as one of the good guys by giving his brother Charlie a job at his place of work, despite being advised not to because he may be seen as exploiting Charlie’s disability.
This movie truly depicts autism in its truest form — it celebrates someone’s unique abilities while demonstrating that they have difficulty with other things.
2. Adam (2009)
This movie shows the struggles of the main character and those around him. Adam’s life is drastically changed when he meets Aubrey Plaza and falls in love with her. Aubrey Plaza’s character, Beth, is forced to come to terms with her feelings towards Adam and how their relationship will affect her life.
This movie portrays the love story between Adam and Beth. However, it also highlights the social stigma that surrounds people with autism. While people may think that Adam has chosen to live a life of solitude, he cannot communicate his feelings and desires to others. Adam struggles to communicate through his words — instead, he uses his drawings to communicate with others. The movie also demonstrates how Adam’s mother and sister try to help him in the best way they can, even though this often causes problems for them.
This is an excellent movie that captures many aspects of autism. This would be a great film for anyone who has a family member with autism to watch as it highlights many positive attributes that come along with autism.
3. The Siege (1998)
This action/drama/thriller-style movie is based on The Siege: The First Eight Months of World War II, written by Gordon Prange, one of the first historians to investigate the attack on Pearl Harbor. This movie is about a group of FBI agents trying to crack down on terrorist cells in the United States. However, they soon realize that they have a much bigger problem when they discover that one of their colleagues is also a part of the terror cell.
This movie touches on numerous issues such as terrorism and government espionage. Also, it highlights the issue surrounding whistleblowers — people who expose secrets or crimes being committed by the government — and how the FBI attempt to protect them. The Siege also touches upon autism as the autistic character has been portrayed as someone who is lonely and struggles to connect with anyone. However, this is typical of the disorder, as people with autism often feel lonely due to their difficulty with communication.
4. Mozart and the Whale (2005)
This movie highlights the relationship between two unlikely friends: a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome and a single mother raising her son with Asperger’s Syndrome. The movie captures how one person’s perspective of something can be so different from someone else’s — it shows how two people can look at the same thing but see something completely different. The autistic main character looks at things very literally and doesn’t understand metaphors. He, therefore, struggles to connect with his peers. The movie also shows how the mother tries her best to help her son while also learning how to cope with a second child with Asperger’s Syndrome.
This movie shows autism more light-heartedly than other movies on the list. However, it still highlights the struggles that people with autism face. The first-hand look into the mind of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome is thought-provoking, and this makes for a great movie about autism.
5. Forrest Gump (1994)
This Oscar-winning movie is a very good portrayal of autism as it shows someone struggling in many aspects of life while having some amazing abilities that allow him to do great things.
6. Mercury Rising (1998)
Mercury Rising stars Bruce Willis and is about a young autistic boy who unwittingly stumbles across some dangerous information. Agents from the FBI soon realize that he was able to uncover this top-secret information, so they attempt to intercept him before he can tell anyone about his findings. The movie shows that most people misunderstand people with autism and that someone needs to help these individuals for them to feel connected with their peers.
Much like Forrest Gump, this movie shows how some people with autism can live their life normally if provided the right support. Also, it highlights the fact that most people aren’t aware of how to deal with people with autism and that they are often treated unfairly by others.
7. The Accountant (2016)
Ben Affleck stars in this movie as an autistic accountant who is also a lethal weapon. In this movie, Christian Wolff is said to have Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. In the film, his character has difficulty interacting with others — he doesn’t understand sarcasm and struggles when speaking to others. He eventually finds himself caught up in a thrilling adventure after being tracked down by an agent trying to put him in jail for his former crimes.
This movie highlights the struggles that people with autism can face — for example, it shows how being on the autism spectrum can impact a person’s life in many different ways. It also shows that people with autism are capable of great things, even if they may not be able to communicate as well as others.
8. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Silver Linings Playbook film is based on the story of a man who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome. It tells the story of Pat Solitano, a man who was recently released from an institution. He is then introduced to his new wife, Tiffany, and they quickly fall in love. As they continue to get closer, Pat finds that he struggles to understand Tiffany’s behavior and her witty remarks. This leads to issues for the couple as Pat doesn’t know how to communicate with his wife because of his problems talking about his emotions or feelings. That leads to some issues for the couple. He also struggles with his emotions and is often oblivious to others’ feelings. This movie highlights how even though people may have autism, they still want some level of connection and intimacy in their marriage, just like everyone else.
9. Asperger’s Are Us
This video serves as a guide on how to deal with people who have Asperger’s Syndrome. It teaches people how to interact with those who have autism as it shows how they function in different situations. For example, it shows how an autistic person will act when asked a question and that they may not be able to answer it correctly. This video also covers many different disorders and explains each one.
The best movies about autism are based on their own experience or the experiences of others. Some people with autism have taken to film and played themselves in the movie. That can be a powerful learning tool to raise awareness and understanding of what it’s like living with autism.