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Psychosocial Aspects of Disability, Movie Review Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1407

Movie Review

Movie title: Forrest Gump

Date the film was produced: July 6, 1994

One paragraph summary of the movie:

The film is dedicated to the story of a man born with mental retardation, Forrest Gump. He was rejected by the society and expectations towards him were always low, but due to his perseverance and determination to do everything right like his mother used to teach him gave him fame, popularity, and wealth. The love of his life, Jenny Curran, constantly appeared in his life, though she wondered much and did not live with him. However, they had a son with who she came to Forrest and soon died of a serious illness. Though Forrest Gump became a rich and famous man, he never understood why people were surprised by this; his effort became an example for many people who stereotypically treated him as ill and never capable of success.

Who was the character with a disability and what was the disability? The main character, Forrest Gump, had mental retardation.

How was the character portrayed? It is possible to say that Gump was depicted both stereotypically and romanticized. The reason for this was that surely it was impossible for a mentally retarded man to achieve so much in life, and to remain at the peak of attention, to get a fortune, and to live an easy and cloudless life. Hence, the character is romanticized, which raised much criticism on the film saying that the story is unreal, and there was no message in the film because Gump’s activities were not conscious. On the other hand, Gump is a typical mentally retarded man with no emotions, with lack of understanding, with hard speech etc., so one may state that the character corresponds to the stereotypes on MR.

What attitudes or stereotypes did the character experience when interacting with other characters in the movie?  It is possible to say that the film is more of a counter-stereotyping than stereotyping, as all encounters Gump has in his life are with people who respect him and do not have diminished expectations towards him. This is why his accomplishments seem normal to Gump, but not normal for all the society. The meeting with Bubba who seriously wanted to involve Gump into shrimp business; the love for Jenny who finally has a child with him, marries him, and dies, resembles to a normal family life of two people. The voice of the stereotyping society is generalized in the film, having no face but the public watching Gump’s success.

Did the character with a disability demonstrate attitudes or stereotypes about a different disability group?  About his or her own disability group? Gump did not demonstrate any attitude towards other disability groups, but he spoke about his own disability. He hardly realized what was wrong about him and why people were surprised to see him successful. He treated life as a box of chocolates, not knowing what would happen another day, so he always showed that he put up with his disability, accepted it and managed to do much more with it than healthy people would have done.

How accurately and true to life were the behaviors and medical treatments represented by the character and/or medical/rehabilitation professional? No treatment or rehabilitation is shown because the mental retardation form Gump had did not require medical treatment.

Describe any accommodations and adaptive devices utilized by the character in the work place, public, and home life. Since Gump had problems with legs in childhood, he used leg braces. Afterwards, he did not use any adaptive devices.

Will this movie cause negative or positive attitudes in the viewer? Attitudes to the present movie are still truly controversial since they deal with the success of a mentally retarded man in whom nobody believed but who managed to take a deserved place within a society. Others think that the film has no sense because Gump did everything automatically, because he was told to, so there is no share of his personal contribution to the success he had, only luck and perseverance. However, the film is likely to cause positive attitudes in the viewer, in my opinion.

Your general reaction to the movie: I was impressed by the film as it was a revolution in depicting mentally retarded people, their lives, problems, challenges and right for recognition by healthy people. I liked the film for the perfect play of actors, for the richness of events and political issues shown, for the beautifully outlined timeline of one man who managed to do much of his life and show to people that mental retardation is not a diagnosis that closes all doors before the disabled.

 

Movie title:  Scent of a Woman

Date the film was produced: December 23, 1992

One paragraph summary of the movie:

The movie tells the story of a blind retired military Frank Slade and the student Charlie Simms who agreed to accompany Slade for some time because he badly needed money. The story is about their trip to New York where Slade wanted to enjoy life last time and commit a suicide because of his tortures about blindness. Charlie manages to persuade Slade in the value of his life, and gets helps from Slade in the school issues where he was made to divulge the vandals for the sake of his remainder in the school.

Who was the character with a disability and what was the disability? Frank Slade was the main character – a retired lieutenant colonel. His disability was blindness.

How was the character portrayed?  The character was depicted both stereotypically and romanticized. Stereotypical vision of a blind man struggling with his disability was seen in the actions of Slade, in his limitations but still many capabilities being blind he revealed. The romanticism of the character was shown in the strong character and deeply embedded values Slade managed to preserve even being disabled and living in darkness.

What attitudes or stereotypes did the character experience when interacting with other characters in the movie?  One example of a stereotype Slade experienced could be seen from the encounter with his brother’s family. Though Slade acted in a highly impudent, aggressive manner, there was still a chill evident between him and his relatives. The reason for that was that the family did not perceive the disability as a grief, and did not want to take the trouble of helping Slade and understanding his drama. Some other stereotypes he witnesses is being not believed to drive a car well, and the overall attitude of Simms, at least at the beginning of the film when he does not know Slade well yet. The talks about the meaning of life, attempts to convince him not to commit a suicide etc. – these topics are stereotypically common for films about a disability.

Did the character with a disability demonstrate attitudes or stereotypes about a different disability group?  About his or her own disability group? Slade did not demonstrate any stereotypes about other disabilities, but he spoke much of blindness as the world without joy, pleasure, recognition, the ability to live a full life etc. It was a personal drama for Slade with which he could not put up.

How accurately and true to life were the behaviors and medical treatments represented by the character and/or medical/rehabilitation professional? No treatment or rehabilitation is seen in the film. As for behaviors, Slade suffered from depression and alcohol abuse, which is stereotypical for people with physical disabilities.

Describe any accommodations and adaptive devices utilized by the character in the work place, public, and home life. Slade did not accept helpful accommodations because of his pride and strong character. However, as for the adaptive devices, he used black glasses and a white cane typical for blind people.

Will this movie cause negative or positive attitudes in the viewer? Why? The film was accepted very well as a story of a strong man with sound moral and ethical principles, but it was criticized much because of unrealistic, too romanticized representation of the life of blind people.

Your general reaction to the movie: I liked the movie very much because of the beautiful setting, the splendid starring crew, and the Al Pacino in the main role, of course. I liked the story of friendship of two men, the story of nobility and strength of character, and surely the extraordinary strength of character of Slade who managed to remain a military man with strong, unalterable views on life.

Works Cited

Brest, Martin (Dir.). Scent of a Woman. Universal Studios, 1992.

Zemeckis, Robert. (Dir.). Forrest Gump. Paramount Pictures, 1994.

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