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Life, Animated

HD   PG Closed Captioning

Roger Ross Williams

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About the Movie

From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after remained unable to connect with other people. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. LIFE, ANIMATED evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for Disney characters gave him a means to understand his feelings and interpret reality. Owen’s story is a moving testament to how stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 99
  • Fresh: 93
  • Rotten: 6
  • Average Rating: 7.6/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: There are moments of joy, revelation, connection, sadness and hope, and the film is very, very moving. – Tom Long, Detroit News, Jul 22, 2016

Fresh: Director Roger Ross Williams' storytelling skills are at their finest in an engaging story suffused throughout with emotion that never descends into mawkishness. – Peter Howell, Toronto Star, Jul 21, 2016

Fresh: It manages to be heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once. – Ellen Brait, Globe and Mail, Jul 22, 2016

Fresh: It is an intimate tale of triumphs and setbacks, but also a story of tremendous consequence. – Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, Mar 16, 2017

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Inspiring...Uplifting and Amazing

I had heard about this film but never got around to watching, until it was nominated for an Academy Award. I'm kicking myself that I didn't see it before now -- it is an amazing story of how movies (or any other passion for that matter) can change someone's life. In this case it was the Suskinds and their autistic son, who through Disney movies, were able to reconnect after years of solitude. The original animation in this film is breathtaking as well!

So Helpful

A friend with autism wanted me to see this because he identifies with the experiences of the man it documents. And seeing it worked: I feel I understand more where my friend is coming from, and it could help our relationship. Not to mention that Owen is likable and successful; giving hope for others.

Though the nation's healthcare system was not discussed, seeing Own use resources such as education, occupational therapy, cognitive therapy, and assisted living, it broke my heart that the majority of us would have no way to afford them. State-assisted help only goes so far. Disney was the beginning, but the life-tools available to Owen should be within any family's reach.

Beautifully done

This documentary beautifully explains the life story of someone named Owen Siskind, who lives through and identifies with Disney animated films, and his loving parents who spend their lives teaching Owen via the Disney scenes life's lessons and preparing him to live independently.

Life, Animated
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2016

Customer Ratings