A Movie Not Really About Autism, but to me, It kind of is…

20 Sep

Will (my two-year-old)’s favorite movie is Wall-E. Yes, the Disney-Pixar collaboration about a robot living on a solitary and very nasty and polluted Earth who falls in love with a robot and travels into space to help save the planet by bringing humans back once life is sustainable again…(that’s an over simplification, but it’s a basic plot summary).

I have always felt a certain familiarity with Wall-E. He’s alone in his world. He collects odds and ends that he likes. He shows his love simply and without reserve. He is friendly to everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) he meets.

Recently I realized why he meant so much to me. He is just like The Princess. Alone in her own little world and forced to deal with ours. She is a “collector and organizer” of random things she likes: certain books, old metal lunch boxes, her “smelly” candles. When The Princess loves you, she kisses you, she hugs you, she doesn’t make it complicated. And it is rare that she won’t greet you with a smile and try to climb into your lap these days…

I know Wall-E was created more as a manifesto against big business and for conservation (which I like personally anyway) but for me it’s become more about the metaphor for autism I’ve created out of it and The Princess. How many times have I heard the aliens and being on a strange planet as a metaphor used by people with aspergers? Well, the robot metaphor isn’t that far off. And watching when Wall-E and the other “rogue robots” are in the repair ward reminds me so often of how kids with autism are being forced to live in our world when they wish we could live in theirs.

Yeah, I’m sure that the creative geniuses at Pixar never intended for Wall-E to be about autism. But it brings comfort to me that I can see it that way.

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