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Five Movies with Quadriplegic Heroines
I've found that there's very few movies where female characters are wheelchair users. Even though disabled heroes are rare, disabled heroines are even more so!
Perhaps because in real life, spinal cord injury affects more men than women? It seems as though men are more likely to put themselves in situations that might lead to spinal cord injuries.
After hunting through movies, I've come up with five that feature a quadriplegic heroine. I've called it "Five Movies with a Quadriplegic Heroine" instead of "Top Five" because I can't recommend all of these. I can tell you that they exist and you're welcome to watch them, but I find almost every movie with a quadriplegic character to be very problematic from a disability rights perspective.
Rarely are the movies written by someone with any actual experience of the disability and so they rest heavily on prejudiced assumptions made by people with no connection to spinal cord injury. Bear that in mind if choosing to view these movies!
The first two on the list are ones that I do not like, but the last three are movies that I highly recommend.
Million Dollar Baby
I really personally dislike this movie, but it won a lot of awards. Probably because it fed right into what people who have never experienced spinal cord injury think about quadriplegia.
Spoiler: the main character, the female boxer, is paralyzed at the end and begs to be helped to commit suicide.
Of course. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
I don't know why this plot is so tempting to people when it's ridiculously overdone and not very realistic. Sure it's a tough adjustment, but my quadriplegic friends have expressed to me how grateful they are to be alive and how much they learned from the experience of disability. Those are the stories that we should be seeing in movies.
Not this maudlin BS.
However, it is the most high profile movie with a quadriplegic woman, so it makes the list.
Photo from http://wn.com/Million_Dollar_Baby
Get it at Amazon...
He Was a Quiet Man
This movie I have not seen and I don't plan to. It sounds incredibly creepy. From the description on Wikipedia, it seems that it has not only the detested quad-wants-to-die plot (Review: Me Before You), but also a stupid "she can wiggle her finger, maybe she'll recover." And then there's the "If she got better, she would leave me." From the preview it doesn't look like she's in a wheelchair that she can move herself, which just doesn't make any sense. So it's rife with terrible disability prejudice.
The plot has to do with someone who wants to murder his coworkers and it sounds just awful to me personally!
More information and spoilers at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He_Was_a_Quiet_Man
Image from http://www.totalfilm.com/he-was-a-quiet-man (Where it states "(Elisha Cuthbert, the most unconvincing quadriplegic ever).")
Get it at Amazon...
This one is a short, and you can watch the entire three minute film free online.
I wish it were longer!
It's the story of a quadriplegic woman who is able to create, with the help of friends, a system by which she is able to sail a boat with her mouth. She actually uses this system to sail solo around Britain. Very impressive!
Image from: http://www.disabledandproductive.com/blog-posts/si... Which is a blog I'll be looking at more closely, it looks great!
Other videos about Hilary Lister
Related Media at Amazon
Here are some books and videos about disability and adaptive technology
The Brooke Ellison Story
This is a movie based on a real person, so it already has a lot more going for it than movies based on an able-bodied person's idea of what quadriplegia must be like. Not only is it based on a real person, it was also directed by Christopher Reeve post-accident.
This movie, though, errs on the side of feel-good and is over the top inspirational at times.
Still, I would recommend it because it shows so much of what can be done despite what appear to be overwhelming obstacles.
Preview - (More of an overview, it has spoilers)
Get it from Amazon... - (Also available at Netflix streaming, last I checked)
The Other Side of the Mountain
This one I actually can recommend! It is based on the memoir of a woman who is an Olympic hopeful who is then paralyzed. I think it doesn't shy away from the difficulties but also shows the hope that comes after one has rebuilt a life.
There is also a sequel movie.
Image from http://filmfanatic.org/reviews/?p=11183