When I found out that she played Temple Grandin in a movie of the same name, I was perplexed, perhaps, but certainly willing to give it a go. The cover, of her grinning awkwardly, was winning.
I've read a couple of Temple Grandin's books (most recently, Animals Make Us Human. I crave for her to write a book just about dogs and her experiences with them). I definitely admire her work, and her perseverance. It isn't tough, having autism, but coming up through the 50's, the way she did, she was lucky her mother was such a strong advocate for her, and her aunt. Some people, even today, don't have that kind of support, and I think that's a shame. Some people, even today, go undiagnosed, and that really hurts the learning time that they could have had.
Suffice to say, the movie was freaking amazing. I've only seen a few video clips of Temple Grandin, but it seemed like Danes nailed it (and, according to Grandin herself, she did). The cinematography was amazing as well, especially when displaying things like how jarring or panicking lights and sounds can be, and when showing how Grandin, in fact, thinks in pictures. I was surprised and pleased to see Katherine O'Hara in the movie, as Temple's aunt; she was one of the dog owner/handlers in Best in Show, and I think this is one of the few, if only, roles I've seen her in that wasn't a part of that particular director/acting troupe set. She was fantastic as well; really, the entire cast seemed great.
Claire Danes was particularly fantastic (and won what, two awards? to prove it). She displayed such a range of voice, and of facial expression. Her bodily postures were, to me, easily recognizable as being "autistic", especially when, every time she met somebody, she fell into a very rote "this is the way I've been taught to meet and greet people appropriately" where she stalked over, hand extended, and said in stilted tones "Hello, I'm Temple Grandin, nice to meet you."
The things she went through were heartbreaking; kids making fun of her, teachers being totally awkward and dismissive, professional colleagues dismissing her ideas and determination. And you know what? She made it. And according to the text at the end of the movie, a high percentage of United States beef yards use her humane methods of moving the cattle through their facilities. It was repeated more than once, "Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be."