How individuals and groups are portrayed in popular media can have a profound effect on the ways they are viewed by society at large. One such case is the portrayal of people with disabilities in movies.
Physical limitations can make life challenging. But not impossible! People with disabilities find ways to overcome barriers and live the lives they want. Movies made on this theme can help build compassion and tolerance among viewers who aren’t differently-abled and courage in people who can relate to the plot.
Today, the demand for realistic disabled movies played by real disabled actors is at the peak. Gone are the days of clichés and stereotypical blockbuster portrayals of disabled characters.
However, here are the three movies that time and again have displayed great storytelling and let us embrace disability as another aspect of life shown in cinemas.
- Theory of Everything: “There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope”, Eddie Redmayne playing the protagonist Stephen Hawking, the greatest scientific brain.
- The King’s Speech: The story of King George VI suffering from a speech impediment is a fine film about not letting disabilities overshadow your identity.
- The Peanut Butter Falcon: The movie goes beyond narrating a disabled story. It is a story of people, friendship, and family played by a real disabled actor. Following, the plot of a young man suffering from Downs Syndrome who’s out on a voyage to meet his favourite wrestler, the movie is a genuinely progressive disability film.
While the debate on the originality of onscreen portrayals of people with disabilities will continue, the sensitization of general public on this diversity strand through the medium of cinema will always be welcomed.