Monday, March 1, 2010

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin is an autistic woman who revolutionized the cattle industry by introducing humane slaughtering procedures and technology. Despite her autism, she graduated from college, received a Ph.D., and is currently an animal science professor and advocate of humane treatments of livestock. The HBO film of her name by Mick Jackson, who directed Volcano that starred Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche, honors her achievements and life thus far.

I never heard of the film and did not know who Temple Grandin is. I was informed by my friend of the screening at our on campus cinema while walking back home. The producer and Temple Grandin herself were going to be at the screening so I took a detour to get the tickets.

In the film, Claire Danes plays Temple. (I have always liked Danes because of her performance in Brokedown Palace alongside Kate Beckinsale. Brokedown Palace is a poignant film of two young Americans' vacation to Thailand that ended up in torturing legal troubles. I feel sad that Danes never got a breakout role and the recognition that she deserves.) At the screening, Temple said that she was so amazed by Claire Danes' performance and Danes' resemblance to herself. When she saw the film, she thought she was going through some surreal time machine back into the 70s because Danes acted just like she did. And Temple was right. Having seen and heard Temple in person, Danes got the accent, facial expressions, and physical movements perfectly. Danes was also able to capture the unusual humor that Temple has which lightened the film a bit.

It is definitely worth the time to watch the life of Temple. Her struggles, her characters, her achievements are inspiring. She was made fun of, bullied, rejected, and discriminated against throughout her life, yet she never gave up trying to innovate, advocate, and educate for a better tomorrow.

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