Leading cows to slaughter

Vegetarian it is not. The film about Temple Grandin, by the same name, is about one woman’s struggle to do something with her life, and also to make the slaughter of cattle more humane. And I know that doesn’t sound like much of a subject for a film, but believe me, it is.

Temple Grandin is one of the most famous autistic persons in the world. She was diagnosed sixty years ago, which was very early, and back in those days it was always the mother’s fault. Luckily for Temple, her mother fought back and helped her daughter go to school and later to university, and now Temple is a professor. She works and she lectures, both on cattle and on autism.

This is a fantastic film. It might be full of cows, and it has some pretty dreadful chauvinist cowboys, but above all it’s got Claire Danes as the most believable Temple Grandin you could imagine. You can literally feel her love for the cows.

She’s also extremely keen on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and loves Ilya. She’s not alone in that. And speaking of ‘literally’, the film deals with the literalness of Temple’s interpretations in a most amusing way. Whenever someone says something odd, such as animal husbandry, a scene flashes, showing exactly what goes through Temple’s mind when she hears it.

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin, with David Strathairn

She was laughed at a lot, and she was ignored and bullied. But with the help and support of her aunt and a teacher from school, as well as by people she encountered by chance, Temple grows and learns, and eventually SHE SHOWS THEM.

There is the worst rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone that I have ever heard in my life, but possibly also the most powerful one. Temple’s famous squeeze box features a lot, but apart from that it’s mainly cows. And unpleasant and unhelpful people.

But Temple learns to open doors for herself.

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