Biopics are a challenge because you want to avoid the awful “Hello my brother the Attorney General” expository dialogue.
Ever since innovative biopics like An Angel at My Table and 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould, filmmakers (especially at HBO) tried to incorporate their quirkier, experimental style to escape falling into the trap of the corny and the leaden.
They don’t always succeed, since the quirkiness sometimes draws attention to itself rather than telling us about the character.
Until someone comes up with yet another biopic narrative innovation, we’re stuck with the self-consciously quirky.
I taped Temple Grandin off IFC and finally watched it.
As I expected, some of it was (personally) upsetting, and (stylistically) some of the “quirky” was excessive.
And one can never quite escape the expository dialogue, clumsy voice over or grammatically impeccable “inspirational message” the real life person would never deliver aloud (especially this one.)
Also, there was less “gee, people in the olden days (of the 1960s) sure were backward compared to us” stuff than I expected.
Although mannered, Claire Danes apparently is very much like the real woman in her early days, even though sometimes it seems fakey. (Even critics who praised Lorenzo’s Oil complained that Nick Nolte’s accent was ridiculous and distracting; however, I’ve met relatives of the real life family and they say that believe it or not, that is exactly how the father spoke. So.)
But she was a great choice to play this part. Her performance (and appearance) will remind Criminal Minds fans of Dr. Reid.
Overall, it was good and I’m not sure they could tell the story any differently.