Parents' Guide to

Life, Animated

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Unforgettable doc about autism, communication, Disney.

Movie PG 2016 91 minutes
Life, Animated Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 8+

Amazing movie!!!!

This movie is amazing!!! It really shows how autism does not limit one's ability. It has great messages and an inspiring story. Watch it immediately!!!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 12+

This title has:

Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (4):

Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams beautifully captures the unbelievably emotional story of a young man with autism and his lifelong love of Disney movies, which allow him to process the world. Owen is a delight, and his deep-seated obsession with Disney movies -- from Aladdin (one of the movie's highlights is when Gilbert Gottfried surprises him at an event) to Winnie the Pooh and everything in between. Unlike many fictional features about people with autism, the focus in Life, Animated remains firmly on Owen, rather than his incredibly articulate family. Of course their poignant recollections and contributions are integral to telling Owen's story -- and their relationships with him are a tribute to the way families of those with special needs ceaselessly advocate for and connect with their loved ones -- but Williams primarily allows Owen to speak for himself. Owen sees himself as a sidekick (like Gottfried's parrot, Iago), but he'd really love to be the hero of his own story.

It's no wonder that Disney gave filmmakers the OK to feature clips from its films (all of which are thoughtfully and carefully chosen to illustrate Owen's experiences), because the documentary is a testament to the power of the Disney legacy. Owen has grown up processing human behavior through animated films in which cartoonish emotions, expressions, and gestures are exaggerated and easier for him to interpret than real-life behavior. Audiences may initially tune in to see him show off his encyclopedic knowledge of Disney films, but what they'll remember is how Owen really is a hero as brave, clever, and strong as Disney's finest.

Movie Details

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