Temple Grandin on HBO, A Retrospect

by on February 9, 2010

in Entertainment, tv reviews

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin

The HBO drama Temple Grandin, based on the life of Dr. Temple Grandin and her books “Emergence” and “Thinking in Pictures” has set the bar for motion pictures made for television. Just like HBO’s 2010 Golden Globe and 2009 Emmy winner Grey Gardens, it is sure to grab a nomination if not the win.

Claire Danes‘ portrayal of Temple Grandin was sensitive and inspiring. She didn’t make one false step. I have seen the documentary and heard the interviews of the real Dr. Temple Grandin and Claire Danes captured her character perfectly. You quickly identify with her and join her struggle to overcome the barriers caused by her autism and later her gender in a male dominated profession.

The 2006 BBC documentary about her life The Woman Who Thinks like a Cow is truly fascinating and is a must see itself. She has been interviewed four times on NPR. The last time was in 2005 by Ira Flatow on Talk of The Nation. Listening to her being interviewed you can tell that she succeeded through strength of will and the love of a mother who wouldn’t give up. Beyond overcoming and living with her autism, she has been able to use it to provide her unique insight into how animals think.

This is truly good drama. It is directed by Mick Jackson and beautifully written by Christopher Monger and Merritt Johnson. The story is told from the perspective of Dr. Temple Grandin (Claire Danes).  Screen effects similar to those on the TV show Numb3rs (CBS) were used to show how Temple perceives the world. It worked well to explain what the world is like for the autistic.

Temple Grandin cast on HBO - Claire Danes and Catherine OHara

The supporting cast are all veterans. Temples mother Eustacia is played by the award winning actress Julia Ormond. The other important characters in her life are Aunt Ann (Catherine O’Hare), Professor Carlock (award winning actor David Strathairn) and Alice (Melissa Farman).

Temple Grandin cast on HBO - Julia Ormond and David Strathairn

Some would say that the early struggles of Temple as a child and her mother’s determination were not covered extensively enough in the movie. It is all a matter of perspective and there is a lot of story to tell in a given amount of time. I believe that they got it just right. I was entertained, informed and inspired by her story.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lee April 18, 2010 at 8:20 am

I’m autistic and I found this movie very inspiring.

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