The Reason I Jump is one of the most unique documentaries ever made. The film is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Naoki Higashida. What makes this so incredible is the author is a thirteen year old nonverbal autistic person. The powerful documentary is an emotional and beautiful look at life that will inspire anyone who watches it.
Director Jerry Rothwell uses the source material as a guide for his movie. The documentary is not a one to one adaptation, however. Instead, it delves into the lives of five other young people living with ASD. Their stories are from around the world and demonstrate a single vision. There is also a voiceover that reads passages from the book during the movie.
This will draw viewers into The Reason I Jump. (The documentary won an audience award at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.) Though the film’s subjects are in different countries, there are commonalities to their stories. There is the pair of friends in the United States who feel they have been denied their civil rights and the girl from India who takes solace in art have similar stories. They are frustrated and angry, but also determined.
The narration for the movie is fantastic. Providing voice to those who do not communicate verbally gives the audience insight into a world they do not and could not completely understand. This adds to the sense of belonging in The Reason I Jump. Those watching are brought into an entirely new world. It becomes a documentary about comprehending and listening.
The production in The Reason I Jump also adds to the narrative. Throughout the movie, there are shots and sounds that bring the sensory overload to audiences that is discussed. Close ups and volume pull at the audience. Rothwell accepts that the audience may not understand what is going through the mind of an autistic person, but he tries to place those watching in the same world.
It is easy to say we are all people living in the same world. The Reason I Jump does a wonderful job of showing how everyone looks at that same world differently. It is an eye opening documentary that will inspire anyone who sees it. The documentary does not stop at just informing its audiences; it also wants them to understand.
The Reason I Jump premieres in virtual theaters nationwide January 8
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