The Professor and I watched The Martian Child last night and it was such a wonderful movie, that I wanted to recommend it, if you have not already seen it. Based on a book of the same name by David Gerrold, John Cusack plays a science fiction writer who adopts a boy who believes he is from Mars. It is a very touching story and although the word “autism” is never mentioned in the film, it is implied, and for parents of children on the spectrum, this story will ring true and tug at your heart strings. Bobby Coleman is the endearing little boy, Dennis. Amanda Peet and Joan Cusack do a good job in supporting roles as love interest and “know it all” sister. Anjelica Huston also makes a brief appearance in a small but significant role.
For me, watching John Cusack struggle with the questions of raising a beautiful, fascinating, but quirky child was like watching myself. Should he let his little boy feel safe and happy in his “Martian” world, or should he teach him to be a “resident of earth” and where do you draw the line? Watching this film resonated with me on many levels and brought to mind the writing of several autistic bloggers, and the excellent article about Amanda Baggs in Wired this week. Grab a GFCF snack and a box of Kleenex (it does have a happy ending, by the way!) and settle in for a movie that will really make you think about the fragile uniqueness of our children and the special responsibility we have as parents to help our children grow and keep them safe, but also let them be true to their inner selves.