Directed by Tom Griffiths
Starring Tom Griffiths, Owen Griffiths
Indie Documentary Film Review by Rachel Pullen
Autism by definition is a mental condition which starts in childhood, causing the patient to have difficulty developing relationships with people, communicating, as well as understanding basic human emotions.
Patients of the condition are measured on the autistic spectrum, and can range from high functioning members of society with good communication skills and interactive skills, to lower on the spectrum where the patient may not be able to speak at all...Tom Griffiths’ brother fell on to this end of the scale.
Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, Autism: A Case of the Human Mind is Tom Griffiths first full length documentary where he explores the world of autism and those who care for autistic people.
At the young age of 19, Griffiths takes a mature approach to exploring this delicate and often confusing subject, using a combination of interviews from carers and people affected by autism to home movies of him and his brother. The home movies provide the audience with an insight into the sense of frustrations and joys that are felt by Tom toward his brother, they are an important tool within the documentary, and although could be consider to be too private for public consumption by some, I feel they allowed a better understanding of the documentary’s themes.
This film was Griffiths’ way of tacking the public perception of autism, he talks in depth with his subjects about the stigma and isolation they have felt from either caring for someone with autism or from someone who is autistic, we as an audience are exposed to some troubling stories about how the subjects deal with these emotions and are forced to feel damage that is caused by the lack of information made available to the general public about the condition.
Tom puts up no walls, discussing some of the more difficult times that he and his family have been through, be they directly caused by his brother or just external issues that affect the family dynamic, he is brutally honest, which is essential in understanding the effect autism has on the everyday family, he paints a broad picture of just this, taking from his personal experience to selecting a good range of interview subjects from different backgrounds.
All though the documentary can feel a little slow in pace sometimes, it does not lack interesting content, Griffiths is young and just starting in his filmmaking career, and to tackle such a subject so early on is a bold move and as I said the content is there, it’s engaging and most importantly...informative.