From the Video Shop: Mozart and the Whale

Neil Turner

2005 - United States - 92 minutes

Writer - Ronald Bass

Director - Petter Næss

Internet Movie Database User Rating - 6.8/10 - Link to IMDb

My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars

This film is based upon the real life experiences of a man with Asperger's syndrome, and it is an excellent reminder of the variety of lives and personalities around which we are surrounded that are often overlooked or even shunned. Most of the characters in this film are not "easy" people, but they certainly are filled with humanity.

Josh Hartnett plays one of the two main characters in the film, and he has gone far beyond his pretty boy image in creating an insightful look at a man who is intelligent yet hampered by his autistic condition. Hartnett shows us a man who is surrounded by disorder in his private life who is able to use his intelligence and empathy to uplift the lives of people who would not otherwise be enriched.

I am not familiar with the other works of Radha Mitchell who plays Hartnett's love interest, but she is great in her portrayal of a woman who is the opposite, yet perfect fit, of the Hartnett character. The real Jerry and Mary Newport are certainly fascinating people, and Harnett and Mitchell do them honor.

There are so many films created that never get widespread attention that are so worthwhile - far more worthwhile than many that garner millions of viewers. This film is one of them and worth a viewing.

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Harvard Square Commentary, January 8, 2007