Life, Animated (2016) Movie Script

Ron, do I have to keep my hand
pressed on the red button?
- What?
- I don't have to keep my hand
- pressed on the red button?
- No.
...shut his eyes fight shut.
Huffed and puffed.
Oh, but the candle barely flickered,
and there were 39 left to go.
Can you guys
say good night to me?
Can you say,
"Good night, Mommy?
Good night, angel.
- Good-bye, good night.
- Good night.
Okay, blow Mommy a kiss.
- No!
- Mommy, pick Owen up.
- Get me up.
- Okay, you can both come up.
Okay. One big, happy family
about to go into the water.
- You want to say hi to Mommy?
- Hi, Mom.
- Hi, guys.
- I want to watch a video.
You want to watch a video?
Well, I'm taking a video
oi you guys reading
The Biggest Birthday Cake in the World.
Last book reading,
which we do every single night.
Walt Disney Pictures.
Okay, our next film
is a wonderful children's film.
And the Academy Award...
So what we're gonna do today,
when you're out in the community, right?
When you're... Next year,
when you're making appointments
and having to find locations,
you always have to be...
- Aware.
- Aware, right.
So when we're walking
through the community,
what's our posture for walking?
- This.
- Okay.
- What about our chins? Where are they?
- Chin up.
Where's the safest place to cross?
Go back and forth across Main Street?
- I-I can... I need help here.
- Okay. Who wants to help him?
- I'll do it.
- Go ahead.
- The crosswalk.
- Crosswalk.
- The crosswalk.
- You're right.
So next year you'll be
more independent,
and you'll
have more choices to make.
I've got to teach my son
a lesson.
My name is Owen Suskind.
I'll be graduating in a month.
Then I'll be moving and living
into an apartment of my own.
Since Beauty and the Beast...
I'm home!
- Yay, buddy.
- Owen!
Owen, I just got back
from the grocery store.
- Oh, that's great.
- What would you like for lunch?
A grilled ham and cheese.
Excuse me, I need to find...
- Your apples, right?
- Okay.
Owen, your sandwich
is over there, bud.
Thanks. And I'll get three
Chips Ahoy! cookies.
You got a big rite of passage
coming with graduation.
You're gonna be out of school.
Now we can start thinking
a little more about the future?
- Yeah, yeah.
- How's that feel?
A little nervous
and a little exciting.
A little nervous and a little exciting.
I'm so glad
you came back tonight.
- I might never have seen you.
- Why?
Because I have to grow up tomorrow.
Grow up?
Tonight's my last night in the nursery.
But that means no more stories.
No, I won't have it!
Come on.
- But where are we going?
- To Neverland.
I'll run him through.
Take that.
Blast this hook.
Come on, everybody.
Hurry, Michael!
Don't stand there, you bilge rats!
Get those scurvy brats!
Oh, no!
Daddy and Owen...
Fighting with swords in the leaves.
Owen, who are you?
I'm Peter Pan.
And you're Captain Hook.
Oh, I'm Captain Hook. You're Peter Pan.
Okay. Come on, Pan, you demon.
There's a video we came across,
and then once we found it,
we couldn't stop watching it.
Oh, thank you, thank you.
That's very chivalrous of you.
Now, in a way, it's just
an unremarkable video
of a dad and a son playing.
I'm chasing Owen around.
He's chasing me around.
He's Peter Pan.
I'm Captain Hook.
Oh, no!
At the time we shot it,
I'm in my early 30s.
I'm a reporter
for The Wall Street Journal,
and our life is taking shape
just the way we'd wanted.
We had two beautiful boys.
We'd just had our second boy.
We had a little, tiny house,
but it was just, like, our dream house.
You want to say hi to Mommy?
- Hi, Mommy.
- Hi, guys.
You know, everything
was falling into place.
But all of a sudden,
at three years old, Owen vanishes.
Good-bye, Peter Pan!
Owen just started changing really fast.
You know, he wasn't sleeping.
That was the first thing.
He'd be up in the middle of the night,
and then he'd be up all night.
His motor skills were deteriorating,
and then his language
processing broke down.
He just started reciting
this gibberish.
It was hard for me to
understand what people were saying.
They were all garbled.
- Owen! Owen!
- Owen!
It's like... We're looking for clues
to a kidnapping.
Someone kidnapped our son.
We went to the pediatrician,
but he had no idea
what he was looking at.
He said, "You're out of my league."
So we go see the specialist.
It's not a pediatrician 's office
like you're used to going to.
It's one that has
a special room with a window
to observe children
like guinea pigs.
The doctor has Owen walk down
along hall from me to Cornelia,
and I just want to say, you know,
"Just walk like you used to walk."
Like, I'm whispering that to him.
"Okay, buddy, just walk
like you know how to walk,"
and I let go of him,
and he just weaves down the hall,
like someone walking
with their eyes shut.
And he gets to the end,
and Cornelia grabs his hand.
I remember literally just,
like, holding him in a bear hug
and just thinking, you know,
"I'm just gonna hold you so tight,
and love you so much that
whatever is going on will go away."
The doctor says, "He has a
pervasive developmental disorder,"
and she says the word "autism."
It was... It was devastating.
It was completely devastating.
Then after a few minutes,
she says,
"Some of the kids never
get their speech back.
They don't ever talk again."
And we just looked down at him
and the kid playing on the rug,
looking at his hands,
and the doctor saying,
"So let me explain
what autism is."
Look what we have
here! What is this, Owen?
What do you have here?
Hey, what do these look like?
Oh, let's get this away.
All right.
All right, we need to stop sillies.
You need... Owen.
I first met Owen
when he was three years old.
At that point, I think that Ron
and Cornelia were devastated.
I think that it shattered
their ideal vision
of who this child
is going to become.
The image of autism
in the early 1990s,
uh, was not terribly flattering.
So they're looking
for any glimmer of hope
that there are other
possibilities out there
besides an adult that
will be forever dependent.
The child with autism
is easily overstimulated.
They don't filter
the constant stimuli
that come in on a daily basis.
This world is just too intense
for their brains,
and that's always
what I felt about Owen,
especially when
he was a tiny baby.
You know,
the vacuum cleaner would go on,
the visual stimulation,
the auditory stimulation.
So imagine how difficult it would
be to just do the simplest things
if you have this
constant noise in your brain.
Owen, Owen, Owen.
Owen, look.
When your child goes
into their adult living,
they've also been in an environment
where the adults have
been telling them a lot.
So now it's gonna be
your turn in a couple of months
to start you telling them things
about what you want to do
and what, you know,
what you're comfortable with...
What you don't want to do,
what you do want to do.
So a lot of those choices that maybe
you only had one or two choices here,
now you're gonna have
lots of choices.
I have some concerns
as far as safety.
Owen tends to walk with
his chin down and plow ahead,
like when he comes out
between cars in a parking lot
- or going to cross the street.
- Yeah.
Hey, Owen, what would you say is
your greatest concern about next year?
That I have to do stuff all on my own.
- That's a concern?
- Yeah.
- To change, right?
- To change.
But is it worth it not having
a staff live with you?
- A little bit.
- I bet.
How do you feel?
I would say a little nervous
'cause it's a new thing for me,
doing my own things on my own.
Yeah, well, this is the big step.
This is your step
through the adult door.
Now you're no different than me.
So you kind of...
All these decisions are gonna be you.
They're gonna be for me.
You got to remember,
even though it might seem
like you're kind of on your own,
and there's no dorm counselor...
We're still just a call away, right?
Pretty excited of what's
gonna happen for you, bud.
You got a lot more chapters to write.
A lot more chapters to write.
- I'll be the tosser.
- Watch how I'm doing it.
If you hold it in your hand like this...
Gus, over there.
Good boy.
Good boy, come on.
- Good boy.
- Come on, boy.
- Come on, Gus.
- Come on, buddy.
- Fetch, Gus. Fetch, Gus.
- Where is it, Gus?
- There's Mommy and Owe.
- Having a little pizza.
Big bite.
We're about a year along
into his silence.
The only thing we seem
to be able to do as a family
is the one thing Owen and Walter liked
to do before the onset of the autism.
They loved to watch
the Disney animated movies.
We realized that was the only thing
that was keeping Owen calm
and making him happy, and so Owen
and his older brother Walter
would watch these together.
I didn't know what autism was.
I just knew that autism made
Owen the way he is.
So autism kind of just meant different...
Drastically different.
So Disney was my chance to have
Owen really light up around me
and was something
we can come together over.
So, one day,
we're up in the bedroom.
We're watching The Little Mermaid.
And, you know, Owen
would be speaking sort of gibberish,
and he had been saying,
"Juicervose, juicervose, juicervose."
He's murmuring something called...
He's saying, "Juicervose, juicervose."
Now, Cornelia thinks
he wants more juice.
She gives him the sippy cup.
He doesn't want it. He knocks it over.
It's gibberish.
Owen's watching the part
where Ariel, the mermaid,
has to trade something
to become human.
Go ahead.
Make your choice.
I'm a very busy woman,
and I haven't got all day
It won't cost much,
just your voice.
Owen rewinds. Weir's like,
"Owen, just watch the movie."
Owen rewinds a second time.
Third time,
Cornelia grabs me and says,
"It's not 'juice."' I said,
"What?" "It's not 'juice.' It's 'just."'
Just your voice.
I grab Owen,
and I say, "Just your voice."
And he says, "Juicervose,
juicervose, juice..."
It's the first time
he looks at me in a year.
Of course, we read
every possible meaning
into the fact he picks
those three words.
"Just your voice."
Silent child.
The first thing he says.
He's still in there.
He's still in there.
We go and see a doctor,
and we tell him about
our amazing "juicervose" moment,
and he's like, "Well,
let me explain this to you.
"This is... You better sit down.
I know you're very pumped up here,
but this is called echolalia."
This isn't like a breakthrough,
you know. It's... It's echolalia,
which is just the repeating
of language that they hear.
And I said, "Like a parrot?"
And he's like, "Well, kind of, yeah."
ls it possible he knows
what he's saying?
And the doctor says, "Maybe.
But there's no way of knowing,
and the thinking is, probably not."
At that point, Cornelia and I
were set on a rescue mission
to get inside this prison of autism
and pull him out.
Okay. Okay, listen up.
Soon as everyone gets here,
we will begin.
- Hey, Owen?
- Yeah?
Could I just recommend that
instead of saying, "Listen up,"
say, "May I have
your attention, please?"
May I have your attention, please?
When everyone gets here, we'll begin.
I started a Disney club so
I can get to know more people,
and they can be around me,
so I can be more popular.
It worked!
Tonight we're watching
some of The Lion King,
because this year
is the big 20th anniversary
of the original release
of The Lion King.
- Shall we?
- Of course.
Not only am I a big Disney fanatic,
but I also like to play magical
movie scores on this piano.
We watch parts
of Disney animated films
and discuss them and see what
they're really about in our lives.
That's not my father.
It's just my reflection.
Look harder.
- You see?
- You see?
He lives in you.
I'm not who I used to be.
Remember who you are.
You are my son
and the one true king.
Remember who you are.
- No, please, don't leave me.
- Remember.
- Father.
- Remember.
- Don't leave me.
- Okay.
What was Mufasa teaching Simba?
They're teaching us that there's more
to you than you ever would see.
And there's more
than meets the eye, right?
More than meets the eye.
Their parents are teaching how,
when you grow up,
to... to be on your own and...
And how to learn how to,
like, live on your own.
Yeah. It's important
that when our parents
no longer can help us,
that we have to figure
things out by ourselves.
Four years have passed
since our "juicervose" moment.
Owen has said almost nothing
but gibberish since then.
We're beginning to give up hope.
So on Walt's ninth birthday,
he's in the backyard with his buddies.
Party ends, the kids leave,
and Walt gets a little weepy,
a little emotional,
and then Owen follows us
into the kitchen, looking expectant.
Like, he's looking at the two of us.
He stands there, stock still,
like something's bubbling up,
and he says,
"Walter doesn't want to grow up
like Mowgli or Peter Pan,"
and off he runs.
I was like,
"What the hell just happened?
"Did Owen just say,
'Walter doesn't want to grow up,
like Peter Pan or Mowgli'?"
Peter Pan doesn't
want to grow up
'cause he wants to stay
a boy and be in Neverland.
Once you're grown up,
you can never come back.
I felt the same way that Walter felt
when he was nine at teeny, tiny bits.
When you grow up,
you lose all your magical,
enchanted childhood times.
This wasn't just a sentence.
This was a complex sentence
of a complex thought,
of something that
we didn't even see,
and all the sudden
it became clear to us.
He's using these movies
to make sense of the world
he actually is living in: our world.
But I said to Ron, "You
know, we've got to try and figure out
if we can have him
talk to us at all."
So I go up to his room.
I see Owen on the bed,
flipping through a Disney book,
and I see,
sort of over to my left...
I see Lago, the Funnel.
Now, lago is the evil sidekick
to the villain Jafar from Aladdin.
- Now, I know Owen loves this puppet.
- Jafar, Jafar! Get a grip!
I grab the puppet,
I pull it up to my elbow,
and I begin to crawl across
the rug as quietly as I can,
and Owen turns to the puppet
like he's bumping into
an old friend.
I say to him, "Owen, Owen,
how does it feel to be you?"
And I said, "Not good,
'cause I don't have any friends."
Now, I'm under the bedspread,
and I just bite down hard,
you know.
I just say to myself,
"Stay in character,"
and I say, "Okay, okay.
"Owen, when did you and I
become such good friends?"
And he said, "When I watched Aladdin,
you made me laugh."
And then we talk, Owen and lago,
for a minute, minute and a half.
It's the first conversation
we've ever had.
And then all of a sudden,
I hear him say...
I love the way
your foul little mind works.
That's the next line of dialogue.
That's Jafar, the villain,
to his evil sidekick, lago.
I love the way
your foul little mind works.
And then I run down and grab Cornelia.
I'm like, "He's memorized
all the movies.
"I mean, he's memorized them all.
If you throw him a line of dialogue,
he'll throw you back the next line."
And at that point,
it was like a window opened,
like a light went on,
and we began to speak to him
in Disney dialogue, the whole family.
I memorized every Disney
animated movie ever made.
I memorized the credits,
and that's how I taught myself to read.
It felt like a great, wonderful...
world of enchantment.
When we'd be down in
the basement watching movies,
when it would kind of
all come together where,
you know, that's when
we drew Owen out.
And these were hand-drawn figures
with exaggerated expression,
exaggerated emotion.
It was easier for him
to interpret all of this.
I think the idea
that it never changes,
and everything else
is changing constantly...
Every other part of his life.
Our lives, as his parents,
we're getting older.
You know,
Walter's getting older.
You know, people are dying.
Everything's changing,
and that's the one thing that he can
hang onto that never changes.
- What's Mommy doing?
- I'm making plans
for our trip to Disney World
in two days.
Are we gonna want to go to
the Beauty and the Beast show?
- Yeah.
- Ls it too scary?
- No.
- I think Mickey has a friend.
There's Mickey, Goofy, Donald,
and blah, blah, blah.
He began to use different
movie scenes to express his feelings,
like Hercules for not giving up,
The Jungle Book
for wanting friends,
and Pinocchio for learning
what it feels like
to be a real boy.
Cornelia and I are not therapists,
but we're kind of faking it here.
And the goal was...
Whatever works to get to Owen.
These are
for you.
- Thank you, Owen.
- You're so welcome, Emily.
I love you.
"To Owen.
"Thank you for always
being there for me
"in the happy times
and in the sad times too.
I love you more than anything."
And I also have
this necklace for you too.
Thanks, Emily.
And... And I made it myself.
Wow, what a wonderful thing.
- It's Mickey Mouse on it.
- Yeah. Yeah.
Emily is wonderful
and cute and adorable
and sweet, soft, and gentle.
When I move into my apartment,
Emily will move
into the apartment above me,
and we'll be neighbors in love.
Another day, another day.
Hi, how are you?
- Hi.
- Good.
Good to see you again
this morning.
- Good to see you again.
- Hey, Owen, good to see you again.
- Come on back.
- Okay.
Owen, here's one of the things
that gets hard for you.
Not easy for you to talk to people.
So we are going to just
say things about our lives
we don't think
someone else knows.
Okay, so I'm gonna make a comment,
and my comment is,
my 27-year-old daughter
rescued a kitten recently.
My girlfriend Emily, she has a pet cat.
I didn't know that. That's perfect.
Put that on there.
That's great. And we're not
working on questions right now,
so I'm not gonna ask you
any questions about it,
but that was the perfect comment
to follow that up.
- Yeah.
- I grew up with cats.
I thought I only liked cats.
I never liked dogs,
and it turns out I love dogs.
- I love our dog, Gus.
- That was a perfect comment.
Owen, given his autism,
he really likes things scripted.
In fact, things that are unpredictable
make our folks really anxious,
so they really like the script.
So can we pull out your phone,
and you show me
your text history with Emily?
Yeah, my girlfriend and sweetheart.
You kind of get in a routine of telling
her that you really care about her.
- Yeah.
- But you don't really
- give her anything to think about.
- Well, but I want to.
- So could we work on that?
- Yeah.
But Owen, he's just filled
with the desire to relate,
and he's born to a brain
that makes it hard.
That does look...
This is for putting your thoughts on,
'cause I'm pushing your brain
to do some stuff that's hard.
At his age, he wants to have
a job. He wants to grow up.
And he tries to make sense of the world
by fitting it into a Disney script,
whereas we grow up,
we try to go,
"Okay, we just can make sense
of the world on our own."
So for Owen, I think
it keeps things neat and tidy
and fits into the black
and whiteness of the Disney.
But the real world
is not a Disney script.
I kinda have a lot going on.
Yeah. ls it also
about how you feel
in terms of moving
and all the changes going on?
- For sure.
- So does that also kind of feel...
Does it feel scary?
- A little bit.
- Yeah.
I think it's easy,
when a kid has had so much therapy,
and is 23,
to think that the trunk
is a lot stronger
than it is, you know?
And the roots are stronger than the are.
But when I see him working with you and
really on these very basic conceptual...
Ability for conceptual thinking,
it makes it very clear how...
How great the deficits were.
You know, 23-year-olds
are off graduating from college.
You know, moving
around the world independently.
- Right.
- No one expects that
of Owen at this point, but the question
is, what can we expect for him?
- Right, right.
- What do you think
Owen's contributions are
to his community, to his family?
We asked ourselves that
for so many years,
and at one point,
Ron just looked at me and said,
"So who decides
what a meaningful life is?"
- Clap.-
This is my Disney friend
Jonathan Freeman.
- Yeah! Hi, Jonathan.
- Hi, how are you?
How's it going, my friend?
- How are you?
- Good.
Jonathan Freeman
is a great actor
who also does voices
for animated Disney films.
Your father's charged me
with keeping peace in Agrabah.
The boy was a criminal.
He is the voice of the evil
Jafar in Disney's Aladdin
and now my official buddy, pal,
and friend of the family.
So, Jonathan and I first
became pals and friends
for my 19th birthday weekend
when me and my mom and dad
went to New York to see Disney's
Mary Poppins on Broadway.
- I saw that!
- And he was the Admiral,
and my dad wrote him a note
and sent it to him,
and he called me up
on my birthday,
and Jonathan
is a great friend of mine now.
- So what are we gonna do?
- We're gonna...
We're gonna do
several scenes from Aladdin.
- We're gonna do a few scenes, yeah.
- Okay!
- Yeah.
- Sands of time,
reveal to me the one
who can enter the cave.
That's him! That's the clown
we've been waiting for.
- You're lago.
- Yeah.
- And I'm Jafar. You ready?
- Ready.
- Okay.
- Wait a minute, wait a minute.
Jafar, what if you
were the chump husband?
- What?
- Okay, okay.
You marry the princess.
All right?
Then... Then you become
the sultan.
Oh, marry the princess.
The idea has merit.
- Yes, merit.
- Gilbert Gottfried!
I don't believe it!
Gilbert Gottfried! I...
I am so unbelievably surprised!
One... All right.
I can't believe it!
I just don't believe it!
We're never gonna get a hold
of that stupid lamp!
I hope you weren't doing
the lines better than I do.
- It's okay.
- Yeah, good.
him doing the lines better
and working cheaper than I do.
- I don't think I've met you before.
- It's me, Owen.
Yeah, yeah, you don't look
familiar to me. Get off the line.
Owen went
to his first school.
We end up getting him into
the Lab School of Washington,
which is expensive.
At this point, my career
as a journalist is taking off.
Sending Owen to this school
is something we can do.
Many of the kids there
are learning disabled,
which is things like dyslexia, maybe
ADHD, stuff that's more manageable.
They definitely accept him
with the caveat that,
you know, we're gonna
really have to make sure
that this continues to be
the right place for him.
So from day one, it was a struggle.
His speech was still very limited,
and his social skills
were even more limited.
After another year or two, it's clear
the other kids are moving forward,
but he is not
making enough progress,
the school tells us.
Basically, he's not
running fast enough,
and the school says, "Sorry, you're out
This isn't gonna work."
It was
really hard on him.
He was really falling back,
regressing in a big way.
It was a glop.
A glop is down years,
rough down years.
When I was in the glop,
I started to think
my best years were behind me.
I wasn't into any animated films
that time.
After I homeschooled
Owen for a year,
we got him accepted to a high school
for special needs kids.
But something happens.
Owen really became very
withdrawn, even more,
and he was very sad,
and it was really a tough time.
He is so high-strung,
he barely can breathe.
When I would go to pick him up
in the carpool, like,
he would dart out so fast
into the car.
I'd be like,
"Owen, are you okay?"
"Yeah, yeah.
Let's go, let's go, let's go."
Ron sat him down
one day and said,
"Owen, is everything okay?
What's going on?"
And he said,
"There are boys at school
that are bullying me."
The bullies said they were gonna burn
my house down and hunt me down.
These kids basically
just tormented him,
and because he's so literal,
he literally thought
that our house
was gonna be burned down,
and his parents
were gonna be killed.
In that moment, I fell into darkness
and walked the halls of fear.
Well, I was just
enraged about it.
Like, it was like
I failed to protect him.
You know, I would've rounded
up a posse and, you know,
kicked the shit out of them,
but I didn't,
and I think that's
why I still think about it.
I'm still bitter about it
'cause I was, like...
Was, like, right there when I
could've been there for Owen.
Quasimodo! Quasimodo! Quasimodo!
You think he's ugly now?
Watch this.
Hail to the king!
After the bullying,
in the weeks that follow,
Owen goes down to the basement.
It's odd. He seems like he's working
on something downstairs.
I go down,
and I see he's been drawing,
and then I sit down with the book,
and I start flipping pages.
A hundred pages of pictures.
And every character is a sidekick.
There are no heroes.
They're all sidekicks.
There are hundreds of them in Disney.
Some are goofy. Some are resourceful.
Some are wise.
Merlin, Rafiki, Jiminy Cricket...
They're all sidekicks.
At that point, I didn't feel like
a hero. I felt like a sidekick.
The sidekicks are fun-loving,
comical, wacky, playful,
friendly, and delightful,
and they help the hero
fulfill their destiny,
and they support the heroes.
On the last two pages, in his scrawl,
"I am the protector of the sidekicks,"
and the last thing he writes,
on the last page is,
"No sidekick gets left behind."
I created a story about sidekicks
searching for a hero in my head,
and I called it "The Land
of the Lost Sidekicks."
The thing he did
that I think was interesting
is that sort of using
the narrative of his own life
to create these stories.
But the sidekicks were there
to support him and...
And help him find his way.
He was really writing
little autobiographies.
"The Land of the Lost Sidekicks,"
by Owen Suskind.
There is a boy
who is just like other boys.
Until one night,
he sees from his window
a storm on the horizon.
He is small, just three years old,
and scared.
Owen, Owen.
- Nice to be out on the water again?
- It is.
- Can I stay really close to the boat?
- Of course.
I'm in. I'm in.
- Okay, swim to me.
- And then I'll get out.
- You've got to do breaststroke.
- No, I can do whatever.
I swam to you, I swam to you.
Okay. Hey, let me shake.
- Thanks.
- Have you conquered your fears?
- I did. Now I can get out.
- Okay.
N' Happy birthday,
Dear Walter N'
N' Happy birthday to you N'
- Owen, bring it in. One...
- Two, three!
who would like ice cream?
All right, there you go, my friend.
What do you think about
Walter turning 26, Owe?
It's gonna... It's odd but great.
Odd? How is it odd?
'Cause he and I are young men now.
- How do you feel about being that?
- Still great, but a little...
'Cause I'm 23 now.
So what was it like for you, Walt,
when you went from living in a dorm
and being in college to living
on your own in an apartment?
I thought living alone was...
Was great.
It was a new, you know,
a new breath of freedom.
I could, you know, do what I wanted,
when I wanted,
like Owen...
Owie, you can now.
You're gonna do what
you want when you want.
- Yeah.
- You're absolutely right, Walt.
So where are you off to?
- Well, he gave the coconut cake a try.
- I did. I tried.
My mom and dad are
getting older every year.
Twenty years from now,
who knows? And...
w be "gust...
It'll be just me, and I'll be ready.
I've been getting ready my whole life,
but it can kind of be overwhelming
to think about the...
The idea of taking care of them
and taking care of Owen, and...
how that's gonna look.
Yeah, it can keep you up at night,
thinking about it,
and, for some reason, the birthday
is sometimes when it rips out of me.
But... most of the time,
I just forget about it
and try not to think about it
because it'll come at some point.
I'm his only family he's got,
and I'll have to do
whatever I have to do...
I have to do
to make sure he's okay.
Owen, go up!
Run up field, run.
- Owen, go! Go, go, go.
- I'll get it, I'll get it,
- I'll get it, I'll get it!
- Get it, get it.
Owie, dribble up,
dribble up. Dribble!
That was a good try.
When you see it,
you just stay with the ball.
- Yes, I'll stay with the ball.
- Stay with the ball.
Owen, dribble, bud! Go!
- The champ!
- Thanks.
- I'm proud of you, buddy.
- I did great.
Well, it's like I always say,
Your Majesty.
Children got to be free
to lead their own lives.
I just can't believe
how far Owen has come.
Look at how much distance
he's traveled.
Look at how much progress
he made from there to there.
It doesn't seem that long ago that we
thought he would never talk again.
Owen Harry Suskind
from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Congratulations.
- Thanks. Yay, I did it!
Yay, I did it!
- Mom.
- I'm so proud of you.
- Hey, buddy.
- Dad.
We're so proud of you.
You're the greatest.
- I am the greatest.
- You are the greatest.
- Hi, Walter.
- I love you.
Hey, buddy, we got to...
We got to pack up.
Oh, can we watch three scenes
of Dumbo to celebrate?
- To celebrate what?
- The packing day.
Well, what... Hold on. What scenes
are you thinking of? I'm lost here.
I think the packing scenes...
- Dumbo.
- Dumbo. Let it rip.
And then packing.
Come on, Dumbo.
When you were little,
you'd watch this movie.
When you were facing some pretty tough...
Tough challenges.
How did it make you feel
when you got to the end?
- So happy.
- Yeah.
- It can go right on top.
- One more big box.
- Where's your thing?
- It's right... Oh, no!
- When did you last see it?
- I don't remember!
All right, Mickey Mouse charm. Now,
it's got to be on a path. His Mickey...
- What happened?
- The Mickey Mouse charm
- that Emily gave him fell off.
- Yeah?
Where is it? Oh, where is it?
I hope no one stepped on it.
Look around, look around, look around,
look around. Should I sniff it?
- Owen, can you smell it?
- No, I can't.
- It's somewhere, right?
- Yeah.
And if it's not somewhere,
you're gonna get one,
and in a few days,
it'll be exactly the same.
- Are you sure?
- Yeah, I mean, Emily...
- Emily made it for me.
- She didn't make the Mickey emblem.
- She bought it.
- Bought it?
Did she make the Mickey emblem?
Did she go to a metal shop and make it?
No, of course not.
- Any shiny item could be Mickey.
- Shiny item.
Owen, could you come here,
- What?
- I have to give you something.
What? What?
- You found it. Where was it?
- On the ground.
There's no way
Mickey's coming off of there.
- Yay.
- Okay?
Perfect. Yay.
All set.
There it is. Exciting!
- Wow.
- Here we are, Owen.
Yes, here we are.
So exciting.
What do we got here?
What do we got here?
Me, Emily, and John and Julie.
Owen Suskind.
- Number...
- Apartment...
Number one.
- Wow.
- Do you know what?
- I think you should open the door.
- No, no.
There we go.
Oh, boy. Owen!
- Here it is.
- Here it is. Yay!
- Your own apartment.
- Yay!
- Your own condo.
- My own condo, yay!
- What do you think, huh?
- So cool.
Owen, this closet is bigger than Morn
and my first apartment in New York.
- Yeah. What could be in here?
- Cool!
- Videos, that's amazing.
- Who would've imagined?
Who would imagine?
Excuse me, coming through.
- Are you good?
- I'm good.
- It's a big night for you.
- It was.
It will be. Owen.
- Thanks.
- Owen?
- Yeah?
- Where are you right now?
I'm right...
I'm home, my new home.
Good-bye, Mom.
- Good-bye, I love you.
- Love you too.
I'll see you and Dad tomorrow.
This is so exciting.
Have a great night.
- I love you, buddy.
- I love you, too, Dad.
Okay, off we go.
I'm missing my...
I gotta find my pills.
You must never rush out on the
meadow. There might be danger.
Out there, we are unprotected,
so we have to be very careful.
Bambi, quick! The thicket!
Mother, where are you?
I never lived by myself before.
Emily will move in next week.
One over this flame here.
There are people hereto help me.
I get help cooking.
They help me with medication
and paying bills.
We all go on fun outings.
They can help me look for a job,
which is something
I really want to do.
Independent means...
great and fabulous.
Is this the right mailbox?
Excuse me.
Is this the right mailbox?
- Okay, can I see which one you have?
- Which one's mine?
- Yeah.
- I don't...
I'm not sure
if that's a mailbox key.
- So...
- Let's go check back.
- It had the number on it, so...
- It says here, two.
Yeah, let's go check back.
Let's see.
- Yes, you've got mail!
- Yes, I got mail. Let's see.
Let's see. Got mail.
- Yeah, all right.
- Let's bring it back.
- Mission accomplished.
- Mission accomplished.
- Hi, Emily.
- Hi, Owen.
Hi, Emily.
How are you doing?
- I'm doing good. How are you doing?
- I'm doing great.
I'm glad you made it.
- Which one should we do?
- I guess...
How about make the cookies
and then watch a movie?
- That sounds like a great idea.
- Yeah.
- Thanks, Emily.
- You're welcome.
I hope we baked them right.
- Did we bake them right?
- Oh, no. I don't want to...
- That's okay.
- Oh, thanks, Emily.
At least we gave it a try.
- Yeah.
- We did good.
We did great.
- Are you okay?
- I'm okay. Oh, ouch.
- Are you okay?
- Yeah, I'm okay.
I'm okay. I'm okay.
- Are you okay?
- Yeah, I'm okay.
You need me to kiss it better?
I think it's good.
- Owie.
- Yeah?
- Not going well here.
- Not going well 'cause of the rocks.
Yeah, I was just thinking.
You and Emily
are the same age Mom and Dad
were when they...
- Yeah.
- Started dating.
You kind of see yourselves
like Mom and Dad?
- Yes, we do.
- How so?
'Cause we take it slowly.
- Yeah?
- Yeah. We have the same interests.
Yeah? So what are...
- You got Disney.
- Yeah.
Pretty serious thing,
a girlfriend of three years, you know.
Yeah, it is pretty serious.
You've had a class
on this at school, right?
Have you thought about those things?
Sometimes I have.
How does it make you feel?
It makes me feel a little
nervous and a little excited.
Okay, how does it make you
feel a little nervous?
- Let's start with that.
- I haven't tried it before.
Have you seen it?
- Yeah.
- Yeah? Where'd you see it?
- Movies.
- Yeah?
For instance, you see
how some people kiss.
- Yeah.
- They might use their what?
They don't just use their lips.
They use their...
- Their feelings.
- All right.
- Ice cream time, bud?
- Yes, let's go!
For Owen, unknown
things make him uncomfortable,
whether it's an unknown place or
someone he doesn't know, or sex.
It's been a little tricky to navigate
because Owen's basis for pretty
much everything is Disney,
and Disney, beyond the, like,
kind of final kiss in every movie...
The, you know,
straight kiss, no tongue...
It doesn't really
delve into relationships
and sex really that much.
I've tried a number of tactics
that work to varied degrees.
Bringing up the idea of a French kiss,
I found out just didn't work.
You know, he's a red-blooded
American man.
He's got his same biological
needs as everyone else,
but in terms of, like,
full-on sex, I have...
I mean, I have no idea how to really
get to that point, short of...
I don't know.
Showing him Disney porn, maybe?
I really don't know.
Owen, you know your
favorite Little Mermaid songs?
- Yeah, "Kiss the Girl."
- What do I mean by that?
- Just kiss her, using my tongue.
- Okay.
I will do it.
- How you doing?
- I'm doing good. I'm Owen.
Nice to meet you.
My name is Jeffrey Ortiz.
- Hi, Jeffrey.
- You can have a seat right here.
All right, so why are you interested
in working for us here?
'Cause I love going to movie theaters
and cinemas all the time.
And do you come here pretty often?
- Yes, I do.
- Yeah? Very good.
How many hours
were you looking to work?
- Twenty.
- Okay.
- So this is the concession area.
- Yeah.
Do you do any cash handling?
- No.
- No? Okay.
I'll walk you out if you'd like.
- Okay.
- All right.
- Thanks for having me, Jeff.
- Oh, you're very welcome.
When can I hear a response?
As soon as we get your references back.
It should be a pretty
quick turnaround after that.
- Okay.
- All right?
- Thanks.
- You're welcome.
I just got a call.
Apparently Emily
broke up with Owen.
There was a meeting with
all the caseworkers today,
so basically,
the caseworkers told Owen
that it was over with Emily
in the room.
It sounds bad.
I'll give him a ca...
Is he just... Yeah.
He needs a brother
call right now.
Emily gave these reasons, like, five
points about Owen being too close
and needing space
and everything else, so...
Goddamn it.
I don't think it is.
Why, Mufasa.
Hi, Emily.
- No.
- Good luck, Emily!
Come on, guys.
Come on, come on, come on.
We've got to get
in the van, okay?
Hey, Emily.
At least I waved to her.
Hi, honey.
- Yeah, sweetie?
- Why is life so full
of unfair pain and tragedy?
Owen, it's just the way life is.
That's- That's the way life has
always been and will always be.
We have incredibly
joyous times...
- Yeah!
- And relaxing times,
but we also have sad times
and painful times.
I can't... But it's...
But it's not fair.
I know, honey. It's... So much things
that happen in life aren't fair.
So many things.
What do we have to do? Just face the
truth and be sad forever?
No, not forever at all.
Just... You have to face the truth
and grit your teeth
and... and know that things
are gonna get better.
- Yeah. Yeah, hi, Mom.
- How are you, buddy?
- I'm so glad to see you.
- I'm so glad to see you too.
And I fear Emily
will be this way forever.
She won't, honey.
She won't.
Have you started a journal
about your feelings,
that you can write things out
and you can write...
But I don't want
to be alone and single.
Well, that's really not
a choice right now, huh?
- It's not a choice.
- But it doesn't mean
- you're gonna always be.
- But I don't want her to forget me.
- Hey, Owen?
- Yeah?
- Emily's fine.
- I don't want her to forget me.
Do you know who I'm
a little bit concerned about?
- Me.
- It's you. Most people at your age,
they don't meet the love
of their life forever...
- What?
- At your age.
What's the saying?
"Boy loves girl, boy loses girl,
boy love...
Gets girl back in the end."
- Boy finds another girl.
- But I...
- This is driving me crazy.
- Yeah.
Why did this have to happen
to make my life sad forever?
I created Fuzzbutch,
who is a villain
in the Land
of the Lost Sidekicks.
Fuzzbutch's evil powers are
to blow fog into people's head
to make the world look
like a weird place to them
and make them look sad.
There is evil in the forest.
- Owen, Owen!
- Owen, Owen.
- Owen, Owen.
- Owen, Owen, Owen.
- So, Mom...
- Owen, has Daddy talked to you
- about going to France?
- France? When?
- France.
- France.
- You don't want to go?
- I love Paris, France.
So there's a conference on autism
where they want you to speak.
It's actually
the very first time, Owie,
that people have gotten
together to learn about
how autistic people use their passions
to help them understand the world,
just like you use Disney.
Yeah, does that sound good?
- It sounds great.
- Good, yeah. It'd be fun.
You're gonna get to give
a speech in English
to a delegation,
an international delegation.
Most of them are French, but they're
from all over the world.
- Yeah.
- Okay?
They are gonna translate
your speech into French.
So I'll speak in English,
but they'll translate into French.
You should just speak in Lumiere's
accent the whole time.
- Should I really speak in...
- What do you think?
- English.
- English.
What should I write?
You're not telling me?
No, I can't tell you.
It's got to come from...
- Myself.
- Right.
The way people see
Autistic people...
Don't look at me.
- This is challenging.
- Just write right to here.
- Another ten sentences?
- All right? Come on.
- Don't whine?
- Don't whine.
A little kid whines.
A little kid whines.
You're not a little kid anymore.
I'm a young adult.
What else?
Think. Think hard.
You could break into song
at any moment.
They can sing, they can dance
After all this is France
N' Dinner here
is never second best N'
N' Come on and fold your napkin N'
N' Take a glance
and then you'll N'
N' Be our guest, be our guest,
be our guest N'
N' Beef ragout, cheese souffle N'
N' Pie and pudding en flamb N'
- ls this it?
- It looks like a town hall, yeah.
- Owen.
- Owen, this is Marie.
- Hey, Marie.
- She's running the conference.
- Hi, Marie. Bonjour.
- Bonjour, Owen.
I am very pleased
to meet you, Owen.
Thanks, Marie.
- Are you fine?
- Yeah.
- Owen, come. Come chat, say hi.
- Yes, I am.
- I don't like the smoking.
- He doesn't like smoking.
A lot of people smoke in France.
Do you want to do it yourself? Didn't
Walter teach you how to do this?
No. Can you help me?
Okay, I'm not always gonna
be here to do your tie, you know.
I know.
I can't believe it.
I just don't believe it.
- Owen, are you ready?
- Yeah?
I'm ready.
Okay, everybody,
let's move it. Okay.
Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs.
I am honored
to be here with you.
My name is Owen Suskind,
and I love animated films.
My friend Connor
loves superheroes.
My friend Brian is an expert
on the history of all actors
and comedians who are Jewish.
There's a lot of them.
The way people see
those with autism
is that they don't want
to be around other people.
That's wrong.
The truth about autistic people is that
we want what everyone else wants,
but we are sometimes misguided
and don't know how
to connect with others.
I was bullied in high school.
The future seemed
so scary and uncertain.
I didn't want to grow up.
I just watched the world
go by from my bell tower,
like the Hunchback
of Notre Dame.
The Hunchback doesn't end
the way some movies do.
Quasimodo doesn't get the girl,
but he gets happily welcomed
into society
after a long, hard journey.
Then he's no longer an outcast.
That's kind of
what happened to me.
Now, when I look in the mirror,
I see a proud autistic man,
strong and brave
and ready to meet a future
that is bright
and full of wonder.
Merci beaucoup.
Walter! Walt's here!
- Walt's here. Walt.
- Owie!
- Good to see you, buddy.
- Good to see you.
This is your... I haven't seen your place
yet. Look at that library.
Yeah, I still have a
few more to collect.
You have some more to collect?
- A few more.
- What are the plans?
Oh, how about you and I
hang out together?
I'll show you the text me and Dad wrote
to Emily this past weekend.
Last weekend.
- Okay.
- I'll tell you.
All right, read it to me.
"Dear Emily,
I took off the necklace
"you gave me and put it away.
"I wanted you to be clear
about my feelings
"that I have accepted
our relationship is over.
"Lots of couples break up
and remain friends.
"I want us to be one of them.
"We know each other too well
to throw our friendship away,
"so let's just be friends
and make lots of new friends.
Either way, I'm sure I'll see you
around. Your friend, Owen."
- What do you think?
- It's good, it's good.
Morning, Emily.
Morning, Owen.
Morning, Emily.
Morning, Emily.
Good morning, Owen.
Is that your bike?
It's my bike.
That's cool.
It is.
How'd you sleep last night?
I slept good.
How did you sleep last night?
I slept great.
That's great. Glad to hear it.
Yeah. I'll see...
See you later.
See you later.
After battling
the evil Lord Fuzzbutch,
the boy finds himself at the bottom
of a deep, dark pit.
He sees something glinting
in the darkness around him.
- Thanks.
- There you go. Enjoy the show.
- Thanks.
- Enjoy the show.
- Okay.
- Enjoy the show!
I've been scared my whole life
of growing up
because you might lose some
of the old things you treasured,
like all my fun films,
but I never did.
We definitely worry
about getting old.
My hope and dream,
when Ron and I aren't here,
is that he is independent enough
to make it
and be able to grow older
on his own.
He's gonna have to fail.
He's gonna have to fall
and fail.
You know, we're not afraid
of that as we used to be.
I think he'll be okay.
The future?
I'm still searching for it.
My childhood days were over.
That doesn't matter.
We're way beyond the boundary
of the Pride Lands.
Hey, look, Banana Beak
is scared.
That's Mr. Banana Beak
to you, Fuzzy,
and right now we are all
in very real danger.