• November 24, 2021

The Reason I Jump Review Movie

The Reason I Jump Review

"The Reason Why I Jump" provides an example of how to turn the book's literary idea into an enthralling film. Naoki Higashida's slim tome, written at the age of 13years old, is a compilation of 58 answers and questions which convey what it's being autistic. Instead of attempting to translate the text in a literal way, documentarian Jerry Rothwell interprets and riffs on Higashida's words and amplifies the concepts in a way that's simultaneously lucid yet impressionistic.

Rothwell's approach to filming the book, which is a stumbling block to film, is to convey Higashida's thoughts and feelings by capturing the actual life experiences of teenagers with autism. The story is set in India, Amrit pours her frustrations with the inability to communicate verbally with other people into vivid paintings that are so beautiful that they are worthy of an exhibition as a solo artist; in the UK, Joss struggles to distinguish from the past and present, with the events of 10 years ago being just as current and raw as the current feelings; in Virginia are best friends Ben and Emma and Emma, who communicate using an alphabet-based board that allows them to become more articulate. And, lastly We meet Jestina from Sierra Leone, a superstitious nation where ASD is often seen as an evil entity. Many children who are diagnosed with it are kept in the dark because of the stigma associated with having a disabled child.

Perhaps Rothwell's greatest accomplishment is that he has provided a platform to his subjects with no snark.

Rothwell also paints beautiful portraits of the enduring loving parents, including Amrit's mother Aarti who has admitted to having fights with her daughter as well as Jeremy Dear and Stevie Lee (who also play the role of producers) reluctantly placing Josh to a residential institution and Jestina's mother and father Mary and Roland who have set up the school to aid those who are in the same situation.

The captivating portraits are set in a compelling setting. Rothwell cuts to pictures of a boy who is autistic (Jim Fujiwara) playing on the beach next to the lighthouse. Higashida's words (co-translated from Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell and his wife K.A. Yoshida who have a child with autism) is read out through the eyes of Jordan O'Donegan. Filmmaker Ruben Woodin Dechamps, and the sound engineer Nick Ryan, the vignettes that also incorporate bridges, electricity pylons, and grass fields, provide a sensory overdose, subtly resembling how people who are autistic feel about the world. The most impressive thing about Rothwell's work is in providing a platform for his subjects with no snark. As Ben states, "I think we can alter the discourse around autism by participating in the discussion." The reason I Jump is a crucial step in this direction.

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