by: Dallas Thompson
Saying that movies, Disney movies specifically, have an effect on our lives is an understatement. Life, Animated is a story of a boy with autism, named Owen Suskinds. At the age of three, he suddenly grew quiet and wasn't acting like himself, explains Owen's parents at the beginning of the film. For a while, he couldn't speak and talked gibberish. Doctors warned that he may never speak again. But, Owen began to connect Disney animated films with real life. His first words were from watching The Little Mermaid, his first conversation with his father was about Aladdin.
Not only is Life, Animated about how Disney influenced Owen's childhood, but it is also a story of becoming independent and facing the real world, and it's challenges. Every time he had a challenge, he turned to Disney movies for inspiration and simply because he could connect with them. A theme explored in this coming-of-age documentary is that not all things are happy and have happy endings like in Disney movies, there are times of sadness and struggle. One thing the movie does well is showing Owen's emotions. Not only emotions such as sadness, happiness, etc. but also it shows how he relates each feeling to something he's seen in a Disney movie. Another theme that is heavily touched is that just because Owen is different, he still goes through all the same things as everyone else. He goes through heartbreak, he goes through pain, he goes through times of happiness and sadness - and that's just how life goes.
The story of the film is told in an engaging, entertaining, and suspenseful way, as to where you begin to emotionally connect with Owen, his family, and his love for films. Visually, the film is stunning. Not only is it live action, but there are also hand-drawn, animated portions of the film. The animated portions give you a look inside of Owen's imagination with his story as the Protector of Sidekicks. The movie is suitable for all ages, for many it will be emotional at some points, and it will make everyone think. If I had to say anything negative, it would be that at some points it seems to drag on, but it's a very minor issue. If you have the chance to see it, I would jump at the opportunity! It is worth every second, and will be worth every penny.
RATING: 5/5 STARS