Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dad's in Heaven with Nixon

I'm breaking from my blogging routine and talking about a movie.  The title is "Dad's in Heaven with Nixon"--a rather strange title until you watch the movie and understand the context.  This is a documentary---the main character is an autistic man, with the surrounding characters being his family.  The dad of the family was bipolar (as well as the grandfather), and the movie centered around multiple issues stemming from the family problems of mental illness in one family member and having a handicapped child.

If you want to watch the movie, it streams on Netflix.  There are also some great reviews on the Netflix website--one being from the sister of the filmmaker and autistic brother. 

  I've discovered that it also streams on Amazon.    One reviewer wrote: "Simply Amazing Documentary of a family dealing with generations of mental illness issues. This is a must see for any professional- teacher, therapist, clinician- working with individuals and families affected by this disease. Tom Murray pulls off a miracle by exposing the dynamics that overcame such debilitating prospects for his younger brother, Chris, through the honest and open perspective of his Mom, his siblings, and himself. Extremely enjoyable- watch this just to see who the greatest artist in the world really is! Janice Murray deserves an Oscar for the greatest Mom of all time." 

One part of this that I truly loved was that the Chris, the son with autism, grew up to be independent, happy, and an accomplished artist.  At my school, I have seen children with autism who produce great art, unusual art. One kid I know draws traffic lights and signs with incredible precision.  In this movie, Chris Murray painstakingly draws and paints buildings and skylines in New York City. I love art, and especially unusual art such as this.

One person (Patricia Robinson) blogged about Chris Murray's work:  I recently purchased Murray’s poster “Red Brick” for my office. While every artist is different, I think this work really highlights some of the strengths of autism. While the work is a cohesive whole, the details are more compelling than is often the case in more neurotypical work. Murray painstakingly represents each window, brick and taxicab. But the details don’t overwhelm, because the rhythm of the piece is so apparent. 

You need to watch the movie---either Netflix or Amazon work, or purchase the DVD!  Very inspiring and thought provoking on multiple levels,

1 comment:

  1. I entirly agree with your comments. I miraculously caught this film on TV tonight totally by accident. I was so moved by every aspect of this family, the almost palpable love, the wonderful and so beautiful Mom, entrancing Chris and Tom, the gifted story teller. A truly memorable experience and feel so lucky to have seen it.