“‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”
– Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert died today. I loved watching Siskel and Ebert, and even though I found myself agreeing with Gene Siskel more on serious films (my first movie critic love was Pauline Kael – I read all of her books and wrote a paper on her in high school), when Ebert said a movie was delightful I knew it was worth watching. When I got around to reading his reviews instead of watching him on TV, I liked him even more. Finally, the grace and bravery with which he handled his disabilities at the hands of cancer made him a hero. By that time (2006) I was trolling for examples of what people did when life threw them a curve. So many people withdraw from public life when faced with that kind of adversity, but he understood, used and took solace in the healing power of the written word. When we visited Chicago in October 2011, the only souvenir I brought back was a signed first edition of his memoir, Life Itself.
We take inspiration where we find it, which means it is important to raise our heads sometimes and take in the world free from the lens of autism. What better way to do that than watch movies, which can transport us to times and places far beyond our oft-constripted world. When I am looking for a good movie – new or old – my first stop is the great movies page on rogerebert.com. You don’t have to read Robert Ebert to admire him, but if you need inspiration, there is a lot to choose from.
Pick a movie, any movie.