FWD Retrospective Week: Reviews Edition
Welcome to FWD retrospective week! We’ve taking a look back at some of our favourite posts on a variety of themes over the next week.
The entire film is framed by Kevorkian’s ill-fated 2008 bid for a congressional seat representing the state of Michigan – his platform, as the film shows it, leans heavily on the Ninth Amendment — but his congressional hopes are not the most interesting or thought-provoking part of the film. Almost paradoxically, the most interesting part of this documentary is the fact that Kevorkian does a pretty excellent job of not coming across as particularly sympathetic, something that a viewer might not glean from the film’s trailer.
All of the women in the book have chosen to continue pregnancies against medical advice. The medical advice is based on something about the pregnancy falling outside of the very narrow “norm” – the women’s disabilities, their “elderly” ages, a diagnosis (or misdiagnosis) of a fetus labelled “defective”.
3. Having a child with a disability isn’t an “unthinkable” “nightmarish” experience with a “monster”. See point one.
All I can think of is the complete ignorance of the experiences of families with disabilities, whose children do scream and scream and scream, or do some other harming activity, because of their disability, and their parents love them anyway. I think about how this is another episode of television that’s used a person with a disability as a way for the non-disabled to learn something about themselves.
I think about how they decided disability and deformity would be their stand-in for horrible and unimaginable.
This what portraying disability in a “positive” light looks like to me. Making Kevin totally cool with everything that had happened, ignoring the way that families heal after sudden and unexpected changes, would be dismissing the realities of so many people. Showing Kevin as some sort of prop to Joan’s growing self-awareness would be insulting, and he obviously has his own story-line and things he needs to deal with. He doesn’t need to be a hero, or good at everything he tries. He just needs to be a person.
The two main, unnamed characters in the film are a deaf woman (Charlotte Gregg) and a blind man (Gyton Grantley). The film alternates between their perspectives, which makes for interesting (and probably not absolutely fantastic, but I’ll get to that) viewing/listening. During the deaf character’s parts, the sound adjusts to fit her perspective, and during the blind character’s parts, the visuals adjust to his.
But what I found most strange in the discrepancy between the book and the film was Henry’s attitude. In the book, Henry is largely miserable once he loses his legs. In the film, Henry is a Good Cripple. It’s a pretty big contrast, and again the film takes out emotional complexity and loses the opportunity to highlight the marginal.
Look, there’s lots I could talk about in this review: what I found to be a half-baked treatment of race, the truly gorgeous worldbuilding, many “what the pancake” moments, some of the most rounded characters I’ve found in fiction. But I think the treatment of Elphaba’s sister, Nessarose, in terms of her being disabled, needs a whole review to itself.