Monday, January 01, 2007

The other Magnificent 7

Through the magic of TiVo, I caught the BBC America premiere of the made-for-television movie Magnificent 7, which aired on Christmas night. No, I'm not talking about the 1960 Steve McQueen western. This Magnificent 7 stars Helena Bonham Carter as Maggi, the single mother of seven children: three daughters who are neurotypical, and four sons who fall on four different spots on the autism spectrum. The film is based on the Jackson family of Blackpool, UK. The real-life Maggi, Jacqui Jackson, is the author of Multicoloured Mayhem and served as a consultant on the film. Jacqui's son Luke is the author of Freaks, Geeks, and Asperger Syndrome. (I haven't read Jacqui's book, but Luke's has been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time and is now on the fast track to my nightstand.)

I'm not familiar enough with the Jackson family to know how much of Magnificent 7 is a fictionalized version of their lives. Their names have been changed, which tells me that this is not a film designed to maintain historical accuracy. And there is a love-story element to the plot that may or may not have been based on real-life events. But the movie is brimming with moments that families who have been touched by autism will recognize. None of Maggi's sons is overtly like Bud, and yet there were shadows of him everywhere - especially in Christopher, the character based on Luke, who waited months before opening his Christmas present and who took pictures of things close-up and at odd angles (he especially liked taking pictures of people's shoes.)

The BBC America website doesn't currently have a listing for another showing of Magnificent 7, but it's worth checking back frequently as they're sure to replay it. In the meantime, I think there are a couple of books I need to check out...


kristina said...

Thanks for this! More to read and see---

LAA and Family said...

I remember seeing a review of this around the time it aired, but I missed it as well and am anxiously waiting to see it. Thanks for the reminder!