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Five inspirational films with disabled characters

19th August 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Disabilities may not always be represented in the media as much as they should be, but there are a number of films which do tell the inspirational stories of both real and fictional characters. Here, we’ve picked a selection of the best, so grab yourself a tub of popcorn and a packet of tissues, and add these movie masterpieces to your must-watch list.

Theory of Everything

Based on the life of celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife, The Theory of Everything tells the story of the scientific genius following his diagnosis of motor neurone disease. He is told of his fatal illness at the age of 21, while he is attending Cambridge University, and decides to begin an ambitious study of time even though he has been given just two years to live. However, despite the terrible odds, Hawking and Jane manage to break new ground in the fields of medicine and science, surprising everyone, including themselves. Aside from becoming the successor to Einstein, the film also follows Hawking as he becomes a husband and a father to three children.

Forrest Gump

The main character shares his name with the title of the film, which focuses on the trials and tribulations he experiences in his lifetime. Despite having a low IQ and physical disabilities which require him to wear braces on his legs, Forrest Gump does not let anything stand in his way. He joins the army, makes new friends, wins medals and meets the president several times, although deep down all he really wants is to rekindle his relationship with his childhood sweetheart Jenny. The main takeaway from the film is that anyone can love anyone, which this movie surely proves, with it recently being named as the most all-round emotional film of all time by Odeon Cinema Goers.

Up

This Disney and Pixar animation is a wonderful feel-good film, which will have you laughing and crying from start to finish. Sadly, main character Carl Fredrickson loses his elderly wife, who he met at a young age due to their shared passion for adventure. During their marriage, Carl made a promise to his wife that they would travel to Paradise Falls in order to build a house, which he decides he must keep in her memory. However, he opts to move his current home, which is complete with a stairlift, by attaching thousands of balloons to its roof so that it floats to his desired destination. The film follows his escapade, in which he is joined by a young scout, looking to earn his ‘assisting the elderly’ badge.

Avatar

A paraplegic war veteran is sent to the distant world of Pandora in exchange for spinal surgery that will fix his legs, should he complete his mission. To ensure that he can successfully interact with the native humanoids of the other planet, Jake Sully is transformed into an ‘avatar’, and begins to bond with the Na’vi people. However, Sully soon falls in love with one of the aliens and realises that the leader of the military unit is using extermination tactics to take over Pandora. Joining forces with the Na’vi people, Sully then tries to fight back, in order to save the doomed fate that is currently looming over the native tribe.

How to Train your Dragon

Travel back in time to the Viking period, when, according to Dreamworks, dragons were very much alive. Hiccup is the main character and is sent to slay the dragons that his town deem a threat to its civilians. However, on his first mission, Hiccup discovers that the creatures have been misjudged, and ends up befriending a dragon who he lovingly names Toothless. Both companions lose limbs during their adventures, while their coach Gobber is missing one arm and a leg, and has designed his own interchangeable attachments in their place. The beauty of this film is that all the amputees in the film are never labelled as disabled, and succeed at their goals the same as any other character in the movie.

Image Credit: sat