There are two different messages communicated in The Incredibles: remain in what’s happening now, and everyone should use their unique abilities. Together, they generate the essence of what makes a family great. One thing that I love about this movie is how the two leads, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, each value one of the two things while giving no care to the other. In the end, they each get what they want, but not without learning from the other, just as a marriage in real life works.
Mr. Incredible, or Bob Parr, is like any other man facing a mid-life crisis; he wishes to go back to the old days, and eventually finds a way to escape and live like the old days. It may be paradise to him, but it costs him a tremendous deal: his high-paying job, the trust of his wife, and the safety of everybody he loves. Elastigirl, or Helen Parr, likewise resembles any woman in that same stage of life; she is so worked up by the rules that she won’t even let her kids feel special in their abilities.
Many people can relate to Mr. Incredible in the struggle to remain in the present moment, or Elastigirl in the struggle to encourage kids to be special. It truly requires a mastery of knowing how to relate to the other family members by meeting their needs. If somebody has autism, even finding the desire to meet the needs of the family can almost feel impossible.
It’s not that people on the spectrum don’t want a relationship with their families, but rather that it’s difficult for them to express the desire of forming connections with others. For myself, I grew up always wanting time to myself. I would spend hours drawing or playing with my Lego sets, and I never took action to form real friendships until I was in high school. Again, it wasn’t that I had no desire for relationships, in fact I occasionally found myself enjoying the time taken to talk to someone when the subject flew around my line of interest. It’s just that forming relationships with people was never my ultimate priority.
You could argue that a lot of people are like that, especially when they’re still kids. What makes it different with autism is that their inability to understand social cues blocks the capacity to even know how standard relationships work.
Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome, Lesson #34: We are Socially Clumsy and Unaware.
If you come from a family that has people on the spectrum, then it is almost a guarantee that these types of issues are all too well known. You may have heard plenty of stories about kids who can’t stand to be touched, or get overwhelmed by the constant noise outside the home, or create all sorts of fights with siblings, the number of family issues surrounding autistic needs could go on and on, and the cases are different for every family.
Relating back to The Incredibles, someone with autism could be like Mr. Incredible, where he is always trapped in another reality rather than the here and now. For me, this was undeniably true, as even when on family vacation my mind would wander into some sort of fantasy where cartoon characters from my favorite TV shows would follow me everywhere. Likewise, a family with autism could be like Elastigirl, where they try to make the autistic child fit with the rules and perfections of the world around him, erasing what makes him or her special.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #35: One Wants to Make Him Normal.
Here is what I most want to stress: every member of the family is an important cog to the clock. While my Dad is an expert with business and technology, my Mom is an expert with writing and editing, my sister is an expert at medical care, and I am an expert at storytelling and philosophy, we all benefit from one another. In that same way, your family members need one another too, no matter your mental capacities.
- Every family has their own unique abilities to contribute and create your family’s unique genetic makeup. Similar to how the team of Incredibles in this movie use their powers as one, how can your family’s unique traits benefit one another?
- If you have autism and are struggling to find the desire to form relationships with your family, start by talking about stuff with them that you know you both have in common. With my dad, we both love certain movies like Men in Black or Terminator 2: Judgment Day. With my mom, we both love going to art museums. Everything else from there just comes naturally.
- If you are a parent of a child with autism, think of unique ways to include him or her in family activities. An example could be playing board games together that don’t require speaking if your child is nonverbal.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.comfor your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!