Title
2

Disability in Film and TV

How many (physically/mentally) disabled characters have you seen out there? How do other characters treat them? How much attention is paid to their disability? Are they portrayed as more complex?

  • Characters with disabilities* – Kristian Wilson 6 years ago
    1
  • That’s a bit of a loaded question since it greatly depends on what you mean by more complex. Like any other issue surrounding the politics of identity, the answer is fairly complicated. Paul Longmore has identified a number of common tropes from physical deformation used to suggest a deformed soul, to the notion that coping with disability is primarily an emotional rather than physical struggle in narratives that depict character’s overcoming their disabilities. In some films physical disability is depicted as a mark of otherness or abnormality while other films challenge or nuance this paradigm. Freaks (1932) is a commonly cited example that seems to attach physical disability to monstrosity only to question that connection. There have been some recent interesting cases in popular film. The How to Train your Dragon films, for example, feature a number of characters with prosthetic limbs, but the issue of disability or otherness is never raised. – Miriam 6 years ago
    2
  • I think there have been growing numbers of disability in Film and Television especially tv shows that focuses on adolescence lives. From the 2009 skins to Glee. They are definitely portrayed as a more complex individual, but again all individuals are complex in their own way. I think some people might think they are apart of the story as a token disabled character to add more diversity to the story but I think some of them did really good jobs on humanising the character. There are so much more that comes into a person than one thing. even though being disabled brings a major definition to a person but that doesn't mean they have less sides compared to regular people. – bernadettevina 6 years ago
    1
  • It would be worth looking at actors who have portrayed characters with disablilities who have disabilities themselves. RJ Mitte as Walt Jr. (Breaking Bad) immediately springs to mind. Mitte has cerebral palsy, but his character on BrBa is more affected by it; I think that would be worth going into, This could be compared to actors who don't have a disability; Eddie Redmayne for example obviously doesn't have motor neuron disease but still managed to portray Prof. Stephen Hawking and MND brilliantly. I know these are two "mainstream" examples, but I feel they're good ones nonetheless. – Jamie 6 years ago
    1
  • Very good idea indeed. – Luke Stephenson 6 years ago
    0

Want to write about Film or other art forms?

Create writer account