TV has come a long way in depicting characters with autism, but not far enough
For too long, Dustin Hoffman's Oscar-winning portrayal of Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man was the only touchstone many of us had for autism.
While Hoffman's performance was met with resounding applause, a consequence of the movie's success was that it created an autism trope that the movie and TV industries were loath to shake.
So many films – The Accountant, Mercury Rising, Mozart the Whale, Little Man Tate, Silent Fall among them – have served up characters who were withdrawn, but had savant-like powers.
Like Rain Man, they perpetuated common stereotypes: autistic people struggle with eye contact and communication, lack empathy and can't read social cues.
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- 30th November -0001
- Sydney Morning Herald