Monday, February 06, 2012

Incredibly Loud & Extremely Close

Last week my husband and I went to see the movie Incredibly Loud & Extremely Close. My husband had read the book, and was going to enjoy watching me watch the movie (since he already knew the plot line). I could tell from the previews that the main character was somewhere on the spectrum, and so I was prepared for whatever idiosyncracies they needed to use from an aspie character to further the story line.

This whole movie was an interesting and odd experience. I am used to seeing aspie-type characters on tv -- through Parenthood, maybe even House, or Community -- and so I thought I was prepared to see this little kid in the movie. And in the beginning, I was kind of bored by the movie. They did a good job of not overly using the "quirkiness" of the character, in my opinion, and in just showing why the father was so important to the son. Actually, the relationships were what were vital to the boy, and for that matter, the whole movie. I got slowly sucked into the story, in a way that I was totally unprepared for.

So sucked in that, when the lights came up, and people began to file out of the theatre, I was crying. And not just any crying. Full on sobbing, embarrassing, -- the ugly cry. You know the one. Where you want to stop, but you can't, and you get mad at yourself because you can't stop. I turned to my husband and said "Am I the only one in here who's crying?" and he, very politically correctly, said "No -- you're just a lot better at it than everyone else..."

I didn't even know why I was crying. So, as I drove home (the hubby and I were in separate cars), I started to think about my very public display of over-emotion. I think it came down to this - in the last half an hour of this movie, part of me was watching it, and loving the ending (if you haven't seen the movie, the next part of this post is a spoiler for the end) and part of me was allowing my mind to wander, and thinking about my two boys who are on the spectrum. The movie was really pointing out that in the process of trying to find out what the key from the boy's father's closet opened, he was having to interact with many, many people. At the end, you find out that the mother basically "vetted" each person, trying to make sure that her son would be safe and would have a positive interaction. As a result, the boy understood a little more about others, and the OTHERS understood a little bit more about HIM. That made me reflect on my two boys. One is 25, and now would not even be considered "on the spectrum," and his relationships with people are truly wonderful. I will write about that in one of my further posts. So, when I look at my 15 year old, who still struggles somewhat, and think during this movie about how he still struggles with some of the same social problems as the little boy on the screen -- and then think of how incredibly well my older son is doing, I think that my burst of emotion/crying/whatever that was, was due to a desire/hope/feeling that maybe, someday, my 15 year old will end up more like my 25 year old -- that he will have strong relationships with people, and will be happy.

Geez, no wonder I was crying so hard...


At 7:05 PM, Blogger Lizzie said...

Hi Kris,

Sorry, that I didn't respond to your comment that you make on my blog until now. I'm really busy getting at doctorate at Parker University in Chiropractic. BYU is very accommodating. They have specialized equipment for us in the library. I bought a program which I still use where it reads all the text that I highlight on my computer. I love it because I can speed read all the things that I have to read for my classes. The people over in the Accessibly Center are very good too. If they see if you have anything documented disability wise, you can get a whole bunch of accommodation. BYU was wonderful because of the environment. It's really hard though. It did prepare me for graduate school. I was there for about two years. If you have any questions, please email me back at



At 1:25 PM, Blogger Jessica walker said...

I've recently realized I need help. I have an amazing 6 year old with high functioning Autism. Many have considered him not to be on the spectrum, but those close to him or the professionals know better. He has close friends, he goes to typical school with IEP and he even plays on a Pony baseball team. For the most part, he works hard to fit in and is successful with quirkiness to boot, but it does wear him out too. We've always felt that if we didn't follow Temple Grandin's advise of always pushing our child just a little bit past his comfort zone (Beleive me that was both physically and emotionally draining)he wouldn't be where he is now. He is at the age that he realizing his physical limits and vocalizes it well with us. He says," I was doing great then all of a sudden, my brain stopped me." He is wickedly smart and is excelling well academically, but my husband and I wanted to give him variety in life and help him to be more well rounded so we always offer a sport. I know that he has low upper body tone, but I also know if he doesn't excersize it becomes a vicious cycle of muscle wasting. Anyway, lately the baseball coach and some of the other parents have been yelling at him during games and saying. "Run faster kid!" No one knows that he is an Aspie by way. I struggle with telling people bc it always affects how they treat him and usually they go over board and don't excpect him to do a lot which in turns makes him feel that they don't think that he can do it. Its a hard balance. Well, lately I can't even watch when he fails. My fears, insecurities, anger and anxiety rule my mind and I just run away. I can't be the mom my kid needs me to be. I can't be flexible anymore in situations like that. My kid is effected by the yells, but he seems to cope better than I can bc he still says he's great. I called a therapist today so I can learn coping mechanisms during those situations where I feel like I'm introduced to Autism all over again. It's hard to cope when your child is typical the majority of the time and then along comes a hurdle and smack your in the thick of it again. It's so emotionally hurky jerky. All your fears, anger and insecurities come flooding in again. I sometimes wish my child would be either or. that way I know what's going on and I know what to do about it. then we can move on.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Jessica walker said...

I forgot to add that it's hard to know the right treatment when there's not a lot out there for kids who fall between high high function and typical. You never know if it's right to label them or not. You never know if your shooting yourself and your child in the foot. Bc yes at this moment he's blatently autistic, but tomorrow or for a month he might be typical. How do you tell your child that sometimes you have autism and you have limitations and sometimes you can do anything other kids can.


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