10 Movies and Films
about Disabilities, Accessibility and Inclusion
Like books, movies have the power to entertain, enlighten and inspire.
Media has long been the medium through which we learn about the world, people and circumstances outside of ourselves. Greg Thompson, writer and AODA advocate, says: “The more depiction we see on the big screen, the more accepted the concept of disability becomes.” It’s difficult to accept and understand something you’ve never seen or heard before. Additionally, people with disabilities want to see themselves represented in media, art and society as a whole–– just as everyone does.
There is also a lot of debate within the disability community and Hollywood about how to accurately depict disability in movies, particularly over who should play the roles of characters with disabilities. Should these roles be taken by non-disabled actors, such as Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything,” or by people with disabilities, such as Zack Gottsagen in “The Peanut Butter Falcon?” Or does it depend on the circumstances of the film and the character in question? And what kind of disability stories should be told? Dominick Evans, filmmaker and person with a disability, told Forbes:
“Accurately depicting disabled people is the only way that we will see improvements to the treatment of disabled people. Our lives are not all positivity and sunshine. We need to see the good and the bad because people have this unrealistic view of what being disabled is like.”
It was difficult to choose just ten movies that suits everyone’s interests, but we felt the movies on this list are a good jumping-off point. While not without their shortcomings, these movies were selected in an effort to reflect a variety of disabilities, experiences and current attitudes. Other notable films that didn’t quite meet these criteria include Soul Surfer, 50 First Dates, Forrest Gump and Rain Man.