Stories of our Lives

Life, Animated


The inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence.

Read review from and The Washington Post

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Questions for Discussion

  1. Owen’s doctor discouraged them from thinking that the few words Owen was repeating had any meaning. What is your response?

  2. Describe Owen’s relationship with his brother Walt. How did it change? (Did Walt inadvertently cause the breakup of Owen with his girlfriend Emily?)

  3. What part of the story was the most powerful and why?

  4. What was the surprising thing you learned about people living with autism?

  5. If you could ask a person in this film a question, whom and what would you ask?

  6. Are there ways that Owen could have been better supported to receive an inclusive public education?

  7. What did you think of Owen’s film group of kids with disabilities?

  8. What did Owen find in the Disney movies that opened his imagination and guided his life experience?

  9. What biblical story mirrors the life experience of Owen in some way?

  10. When have you identified and empathized with a movie character for your own self understanding?

  11. How is this movie similar or different from movies like Rain Man or My Name Is Temple Grandin?

  12. Bruno Bettelheim says that fairy tales help children to come to terms with the fact of evil in the world. Disney has often been accused of taking the "bite" out of fairy tales. Do you think Owen was cheated by the Disney versions?

  13. Were you drawn in or alienated by anything in the film? Is there a scene or some dialogue that struck you?

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