|This film was an official selection at the Phoenix Film Festival in Phoenix in 2014. Here's an index to my reviews of 2014 films.|
Given that Asperger's is a name that crops up more and more nowadays, it's worth this visit to refresh us on what it actually is and Cory appears to be a good example. He's fine verbally, in fact better than many of his peers, but he's bad at reading body language and other non-verbal cues. This impacts his ability to connect to other people and the outside world, which prompts both anger and anxiety. He suffers notably from sensory overload, not least with a photographic memory. He told his mother that 'my mind is like a DVR' that's really hard to stop. He also hears things louder and scratchier than the rest of us and with no delineation between what's in the foreground and background, making it hard to focus on one thing. He puts his hands over his ears a lot to control that. He benefits from repetition and has his own obsessive compulsive routines to organise the chaos. Most notably, he's hyperfocused on a specific interest which, as with many like him, is animals. He uses it to control his anxiety and screen it out.
The most obvious flaw of the film is that it captures Cory partway through a story that is clearly not over. While we're given background to highlight how he got to eleven, we immediately want to know how he's going to be as a teenager and a young adult. This lessens the film in a sense, not in what it is but in what it could be. I hope that Odonnell will be able to continue shooting Cory's progression through life, perhaps adding new footage occasionally like how Michael Apted has done with his Up series, which revisits a set of seven year old children for updates every seven years. Perhaps inevitably, while Cory is the focal point of the film, he's the least interviewed, so we continually get his feelings either second hand or through a translation to the visual. While that often works (we really don't need to hear 'best day ever' because it's obvious in his face and his interactions), we still want to hear him talk to us. However, these aren't major complaints and this is still 26 minutes very well spent.