Movie recommendation: Mozart and the Whale
“Based on a true story, this romantic drama follows the love affair of two people with Asperger's Syndrome -- a subtle form of autism with a side of savant. Donald (Josh Harnett), an emotionally dysfunctional mathematical genius, leads a support group for those with the syndrome. When an attractive music and art genius (Radha Mitchell) joins the group, Donald's falls for her, but their unique natures make for a challenging relationship.” From Netflix
So I rented this movie while my sister was here. I was especially interested as I have had several students with either Asperger’s or autism in my classes over the years. This year I have two – one is a student, the other is my TA.
So I watch the movie with my sister and my 19 year old daughter. We really enjoyed it, and afterwards we’re talking along the lines of topics loosely connected with the movie. I’m sharing about the two students I have this year, and how although they don’t socialize a lot with the other students, they totally connect with each other. After class, they have lunch in my room. They talk like crazy and actually look each other in the eye, something they do not do when they talk to me. They like to hang out in my room because kids can be assholes and my student was getting teased and his mom asked if he could get a pass from me to eat inside my classroom.
My daughter (who works at a coffee house by the University) has been politely listening and chimes in.
Daughter: We have a lot of half-way houses for mental health by my work.
Me: Oh. ?
Daughter: Yeah. There’s this one guy who comes in three times a day for diet coke. I think he has autism.
Sister: Oh…. Really….
Daughter: Yeah. Like after he orders his diet coke. While I’m getting it. He stands there at the register the whole time and goes, “Can I have a diet COKE please. Can I have a diet COKE please.” He says it the entire time I make his soda.
Sister: That does sound like Rainman. Remember that movie with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise?
Daughter (not done with story): Yeah. That customer. Yesterday he was saying his “Can I have a diet COKE please. Can I have a diet COKE please.” And then when I gave him his soda, he was. like, looking down, he kinda always looks down, and says, “I like your shoes.”
Me: Well, that’s nice.
Daughter: Yeah. Then he looks up at me and says, “I have a woman’s SHOE fetish.”
A nicer than-usual-for-a-weekday-cab sprays out of mine and my sister's noses and we choke on what is left in our throats.
Daughter: Yeah. I know it’s probably not his fault, but it made me really uncomfortable, so I turned bright red and walked into the kitchen and asked the baker to take his money. The whole time, he was like, “I’m SORry, I’m SORry, I’m SORry. He stays about an hour, drinking his soda. About every fifteen minutes, he’d yell, “I’m SORry.”
Me (trying to stem my un-PC laughter): The poor guy.
Daughter raises eyebrow.