If you want to explore some unhelpful stereotypes about disability, mainstream hollywood films are a good place to start. (Listen to the music swell dramatically at the end of Million Dollar Baby when – spoiler alert! – Hilary Swank’s character realizes she’d rather be dead than live with spinal chord injury; or watch the magical future super!crip in Avatar get magically cured in the magical future where disabilities disappear like magic.)
But there are some really amazing films out there about, and in some cases by, disabled people. And I was pleasantly surprised to discover recently that you can stream some of them for free. Below are some of my favorites. Check them out!
“Shameless: the art of disABILITY” is a film by Bonnie Sherr Klein exploring the lives of five disabled artists. They discuss their work, their own experiences of disability, and the relationship between the two.
“The Kids are Alright” is a fascinating documentary about the protests led by disability rights activists against the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon. The protests were organized by a group called “Jerry’s Orphans” – a group of former “Jerry’s Kids” (children with muscular dystrophy who had appeared on the telethon) who felt that the telethon was exploitative and promoted harmful stereotypes of disabled people.
“Life’s a Twitch” is the story of one man’s experience of Tourette’s Syndrome.