When Owen Suskind was three years old, the previously chatty little boy shut down. His verbal skills vanished. He closed in on himself. His family were devastated by a diagnosis of autism, which came with the warning that he may never speak again. But then Owen suddenly said a line from one of the Disney films that he watched avidly. And the animations that were his passion also became his key to unlocking the world. This heartwarming documentary pays tribute to a remarkable young man and the supportive family who helped him reconnect with the neurotypical environment which, filtered through his condition, had become a baffling and frightening place. More so than dramas that deal with people on the autistic spectrum, this documentary, through expressive sound design, appealing animation and Owen’s observations, gives real insight into the mind of an autistic person. And rather than other films, it reminded me most of a book: The Reason I Jump, written by Naoki Higashida, a 13-year-old Japanese boy with autism.
Wendy Ide is the Observer's deputy film critic