Monday, 2 March 2009

Mozart and the Whale

I'd heard rumblings about this movie and how it was about Asperger's Syndrome (AS) however I could never find it in the stores. Turns out there is a reason for that…it's not available in the stores and had quite a limited release. So I had to get a copy on the internet and even then couldn't get a British version; it's Dutch with Dutch text on the box, English language and Dutch subtitles, but you can turn the subtitles off.

It's a story about a man with AS who runs a local autistic group and his relationship with a girl, who also has AS, who starts attending the group. It's unlikely to be of much (if any) interest to people not interested in Asperger's as the story alone isn't really enough to carry the movie. However it's based on real events and real people so you can only really use what you have to work with.

The protagonist did exhibit your classic AS traits and they did seem a little bit exaggerated. He had very bad eye contact, but it wasn't just eye contact he could barely face the same direction as the person he was speaking to. He also had a fascination with numbers and maths and I swear at times a hint of "I'm an excellent driver" appeared in his accent.

The love interest had quite a different set of traits and was the lesser affected of the two. Her two main issues were thinking without speaking and offending people and she had sensory problems with metallic sounds. It was an interesting way of showing how two people with the same syndrome can actually behave in completely different ways. Like most people with AS I probably identified with some traits but not others. Probably the most interesting for me was the state of his apartment. Again I'm not sure if it has been exaggerated and I'm certainly not as bad, but it was strange seeing how he lived on screen then looking around at the many empty cans, pizza boxes, diner plates, newspapers etc that litter my own floor. Also regarding his apartment the windows were just taped up with newspapers. I'm not that bad but my curtains or blinds are never even drawn, they're always closed. Those kinds of things spoke to me and made it feel like the subject matter was very well understood. I'm sure other people will have their own "moments" that they connect most with.

The other thing that really struck me to an incredibly freaky degree was the closeness of the people at the group in this movie with those of the social group that I attend. It really was scary in places.

Ultimately though it's just "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girl". Outside of the AS angle not only is there nothing particularly meaty in the story…but it suffers from the weakest Hollywood cliché where everyone is gorgeous and the guy still gets the girl.

It's definitely one to check out though, I'm not aware of any other movies based around AS. Well, as with all things AS the self-diagnosed internet brigade begs to differ and they claim that any movie with a "quirky" or "socially awkward" protagonist is about AS.


Anonymous said...

I bought my copy of the movie on (it's a "sub-site" of E-bay). Way cheaper too.

Beastinblack said...

I can definately see bits of both of those characters in me. Bloody hell. Im a tight ass so I downloaded it!

Beastinblack said...

Having said that, isabelle just sounds like she has borderline personality disorder than AS. I mean seriously!