Every life is unique, filled with triumphs and challenges, but individuals with disabilities have a singular perspective that can help us all understand human experience from a new perspective. These ten films feature characters with physical disabilities. Next week look for part 2–a list of ten films with differing perspectives on mental or behavioral disabilities.
My Left Foot: The story of Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy. He learned to paint and write with his only controllable limb – his left foot.
The Intouchables: An irreverent, uplifting comedy about friendship, trust, and human possibility. Based on a true story of friendship between a handicapped millionaire and his street-smart ex-con caretaker, The Intouchables depicts an unlikely camaraderie rooted in honesty and humor between two individuals who, on the surface, would seem to have nothing in common.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: The French editor of Elle magazine, Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, in 1995 at the age of 43, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he’d only visited in his mind.
The Miracle Worker: The contemporary version of the classic true story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.
The Theory of Everything: Renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of; time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science.
The Mighty: Two teenage boys move in next door to each other, and while both have problems, they find they can overcome their limitations by uniting their efforts.
The Station Agent: A young man inherits a train station in rural New Jersey and moves there for a life of quiet solitude. He soon finds friendships and a sense of belonging that he never expected, and never thought he wanted.
The Best Years of Our Lives: The story of the problems faced by three veterans who return home after World War II and try to pick up their lives where they left off.
Gattaca: As one of the last “natural” beings born into a genetically engineered world, Vincent Freeman has none of the ‘pre-ordered’ DNA that will guarantee him success. Desperate to realize his dream of exploring space, Vincent assumes the identity of a genetically superior athlete. Avoiding detection using the athlete’s genetic markers, Vincent becomes a rising star at Gattaca Aerospace, attracting the attention of a beautiful co-worker. When a flight director is brutally murdered, a clue left at the crime scene threatens to shatter Vincent’s plans.
Children of a Lesser God: James is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah, a pupil who decided to stay on at the school rather than venture into the big bad world. She shuns him at first, refusing to read his lips and only using signs. Will her feelings change over time?