Claire Danes stars as Temple Grandin, the title character based on a true story of an autistic woman who overcame all odds to follow her dreams and find incredible success. From the beginning we are told that Temple “sees in pictures” and is able to notice things that many people don’t. After not speaking until she was 4 years old and being diagnosed as autistic, her mother (Julia Ormond) constantly worked with her to develop her speech.
As Temple grows up she struggles with subjects like math and English, but is extraordinarily brilliant in science and art. While her classmates constantly mock and laugh at her, the teachers see no hope in Temple until her biology teacher realizes that Temple’s ability to see in pictures is in fact an incredible blessing and gift. After graduating from high school Temple visits her aunt (Catherine O’Hara) and discovers an intense interest in cattle. After noticing a device that comforts the cattle, Temple climbs into it and realizes that it eases her anxiety as well. As Temple struggles with the social norms at university she builds her own device to the dismay of her roommate.
Once Temple graduates from college she immerses herself in the study of cattle, herding techniques, and overcomes extreme bias and discrimination from others. After writing numerous articles on cattle and animal behavior, she achieves a Masters degree in Animal Science and ultimately a Doctorate as well.
While the entire cast turns out wonderful performances, Claire Danes is absolutely stunning in her portrayal. Entirely deserving of her Emmy win for Best Actress, it might just be her greatest role ever. O’Hara and Ormond are also delightful in their own right..
On top of an incredible cast and intriguing story, I especially loved the editing techniques used to highlight Temple’s picturesque and analytical thought patterns. From beginning to end, Temple Grandin is captivating, inspiring and uplifting.
4.5 stars out of 5