Life, Animated

Roger Ross Williams

United States 2016, 91 min.


Spoken language: English

Subtitles: Dutch

Heart-warming documentary about an autistic boy learning to speak and understand the world through Walt Disney movies. Owen knows every Disney film by heart and they have become his way of connecting with his family. But can they help when Owen has to start finding his own way through life?

When Owen Suskind begins developing autism at the age of 3, his parents are devastated. ‘We set on a rescue mission to get inside this prison of autism and pull him out,’ his father remembers. Retreated into silence, the only thing that makes Owen calm and happy is watching Walt Disney movies. And not only does he enjoy watching Peter Pan, The Lion King, Aladdin and all the others, but he is using these movies to make sense of his own world.

As it turns out, he has memorised every Disney movie and is able to express his feelings with Disney dialogue. From then on, the Suskind family begins speaking with Owen in Disney language. But as Owen gets older and has to learn to live more independently, Walt Disney is not able to provide all the answers anymore. What does it take to live away from his parents? And how does he keep his relationship with his girlfriend Emily working? Inspiring story, told partly in beautifully animated scenes and with lots of footage from the family archive.



Official website:

Dutch distribution:

Periscoop Film

+31 208204941

World sales:


+44207253 6244

Talkshows & debates

Life, animated: Q&A with director Roger Ross Williams

Monday, March 23, 2020 - 16:15

The parents of the cheerful, ever-babbling toddler Owen Suskind are faced with a mystery when their three-year-old suddenly deals with a diagnosis of autism. Disney animations become of an unexpected solace. A retrospective screening and talk with dire