Cinema is an art form that mirrors all the unique human problems and situations. One of them is disability. Today, we’ll share six powerful, moving, and funny movies about disability that will make you reflect on how it changes people’s lives and affects their environment.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 2020, more than one hundred million people on the planet have some kind of disability. That’s 15 percent of the world population. There are different types of disability: sensory, mental, intellectual, or physical, and the degree of severity varies widely from person to person.
The movies we’ll share in this article are about different disabilities, which some people prefer to call “functional diversity”.
“Disability isn’t a ‘brave struggle’ or ‘courage in the face of adversity’. Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.”
Movies bring us stories (real and imagined) of people who’ve had to face complicated conditions or situations, sometimes from a young age. Check out some of these movies and open your mind to learning about living with a disability.
The Intouchables (2011)
The Intouchables is a classic movie about disability. This French film tells the story of a millionaire quadriplegic man and his new personal assistant, Driss. Driss is an immigrant from a marginalized community who just got out of jail. The movie is funny, ironic, and makes you think about life’s challenges.
The Theory of Everything (2014)
The Theory of Everything is a British film about the life of renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. The movie shows Hawking’s childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, including the relationship that he had with his first wife, Jane Hawking.
The film does a stellar job of portraying Hawking’s life-long struggle with disability, his research, his discoveries, and his immense strength in the face of his diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gherig’s disease.
The story also shows the darker side of Hawking’s struggles with the condition and his personal conflicts.
If you’re looking for a good dose of humor and energy, you should watch Champions. This is definitely the funniest of all the movies about disability that we’re sharing today. It tells the story of Marco, a professional basketball coach who loses his job and is forced by law to coach a group of players with intellectual disabilities.
What starts as a frustrating experience for Marco becomes an unforgettable ride, full of laughter and life lessons.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
This is another well-known film about disability that’s based on a true story. A Beautiful Mind is about John Forbes, a brilliant mathematician who struggles with schizophrenia and psychotic episodes. In spite of his disability, Forbes wins the Nobel Prize in mathematics. This drama offers some important life lessons and Russell Crowe’s performance is flawless.
100 Meters (2016)
100 Meters is a Spanish movie starring Dani Rovira. It’s about Ramon, a family man in his thirties whose life turns upside down when he’s diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In spite of his new illness, Ramon decides to sign up and train for an Iron Man, one of the most difficult physical challenges on the planet.
With the help of his grouchy father-in-law, who he doesn’t get along with at all, Ramon starts the path towards personal achievement and growth. 100 Meters is an emotional movie with a lot of dark humor that will make you laugh. The movie shows us that laughter is often the best way to deal with the most difficult situations. After all, humans are magical and contradictory.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
This is another must-watch. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a French movie inspired by a novel based on a true story. It tells the story of Jean Dominique, who had a stroke that left him completely paralyzed and trapped in a wheelchair.
Doctors diagnose him with locked-in syndrome, a rare and strange disorder that leaves patients completely paralyzed except for their eyelids (and sometimes not even that). In the movie, Jean Dominque can only move his left eyelid. Nevertheless, he overcomes all the odds and manages to write his own book.
Disability changes a person’s life in very particular ways, which is why it’s so important for society to be more inclusive. It’s important to promote the visibility of all disabilities and create diverse and inclusive communities that nourish all their members.
In conclusion, diversity is crucial for building a flexible and comforting environment. Movies are a great way to make you think and connect to other people’s personal struggles and resilience. Watching these six movies about disability will open your mind to another reality.
“It’s not the disability that defines you; it’s how you deal with the challenges the disability presents you with.”