Director(s): Petter Næss
IMDB Rating: 6.9
A dramatic-comedy, inspired by the lives of two people with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism, whose emotional dysfunctions threaten to sabotage their budding romance. Donald is a good-natured but hapless taxi driver with a love of birds and a superhuman knack for numbers. Like many people with AS, he likes patterns and routines. But when the beautiful but complicated Isabel joins the autism support group he leads, his life - and his heart - are turned upside down.
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We have taken some photos of "Mozart and the Whale". They represent actual movie quality.
(21 May 2013)
I had never heard of this film before a friend lent it to me, and I cannot understand why. Apparently it didn't get much ntoice when it was released. Let me say this: I loved it. I laughed, I cried, as the old saying goes. Very touching performances, believable situations, all in all a well-crafted film.
theladyinblue (20 May 2013)
As a person who has Aspergers I can say that this movie is one of themore positive films about Autism that I have seen. It shows that peoplewith Aspergers are able to be in relationships, hold down jobs, drivecars, etc. It is a huge step up since Rainman which was the movie thatintroduced Autism to the public. As an Aspie, I could relate to a lotof the things that the characters were going through. But the film wasultimately flawed in the end. First off, the symthoms of Aspergerssyndrome are not that obvious and there are no visual indicators thatthe person has this disorder. That was not the case in the movie. Thecharacters seemed neurotic and more High functioning Autsic thenAspergers. You can live with someone with Aspergers for 20 years andnot know that any thing is wrong with the person. Second, a lot ofthings were over-dramatized. For instance, in the scene where Donaldand Isabelle are at the fair and Isabelle reacts to a disturbing noise,she over does the reaction. In real life, the most that can happen whena person with AS is exposed to a noise that they don't like is that ithurts their ears and they have to leave the room. We don't have fullblown melt downs like she did in the film. Also, people with Aspergersdon't shout things in the middle of restaurants or act rudely towardspeople like Isabelle did when she and Donald went out for a date. Iguess that I should have expected these problems when I went to see themovie because it is written by Ron Bass, the same guy who wroteRainman. I wish the people who had written the screenplay and made thefilm had actually taken the time to read about AS instead of usingevery stereotypical "Autisc" thing in the book when they made the film.But in the end it is an improvement from Rainman. I recommend readingthe Mozart and the Whale book as an alternative.
(09 May 2013)
I first watched this movie about a year ago. My son has Autism leaning more towards Aspergers. After several days online looking for movies about people with high functioning forms of ASD I found this one. I was sad to learn this never had major theater release in the states. It's really amazing and eye opening about love and life for someone with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).I recommend for anyone with someone with ASD in their lives or suspect they may know someone with ASD.
(09 May 2013)
About autistic people and their problems, this movies doesn't pull any punches.The psychiatrist gets it all wrong too!A cabalistic autistic meets his mate in a beautiful girl who paints and talks to animals.No road is smooth for people like them.
(28 April 2013)
I really loved it and could relate strangely to things. I saw things in them that I see in one of my family members who has aspergers and mild autism.
(28 April 2013)
"Mozart & The Whale" follows a romantic story of two people with Asperger's Syndrome - Donald and Isabelle. Josh Hartnett plays Donald, part-time cab driver who is attracted to numbers and patterns, meets outspoken Isabelle (played by Radha Mitchell), whose honesty often results in conflicts in relationship.Though the film is inspired by the life of Jerry and Mary Newport, the story of two lovers' bumpy road of romance is told in an orthodox way by Norwegian director Petter Næss (`Elling') and writer Ronald Bass, co-writer of "Rain Man." Those who want to know more about Asperger syndrome may be disappointed with the film's content. (We don't know how exactly Donald manage the group he has organized for the people with Asperger, for instance.) The film instead stresses the romantic side of the lives of Donald and Isabelle, both of whom go through the rocky process of joy, anger, angst, depression and joy again, but the process of love itself is not peculiar to people with Asperger.But maybe that is the point of the film. Through their romance we come to care these characters, like we did for Bridget and Darcy. The film has fine acting from the leads and supports (including John Carroll Lynch and Gary Cole), but like Sean Penn in "I Am Sam" I couldn't help feeling that Josh Hartnett is acting. He is very good as Donald, but still it might have been a better choice for the film to choose a lesser-known actor than Josh Hartnett whose face has already become famous."Mozart & The Whale" is a charming little film. (Surprisingly the production company includes Millennium Films, usually associated with B-action films.) It does not lose its quirky charms throughout, but we suspect that the reality might be different from the film's slightly conventional storyline. For those who think so, there is a book "Mozart and the Whale: An Asperger's Love Story," the story of Jerry and Mary Newport.
(24 April 2013)
I attended a viewing of this movie with my daughter and my friend. My reason for going was for my grandson, who has Aspergers. I found this to be very uplifting, rewarding and a little sad at times. But it is a relief to know that my grandson has a very bright future ahead of him. We also had a chance to meet Jerry, who was very entertaining and really put my fears at ease. I would suggest this movie for anyone, so they can become more informed on the subject of Aspergers.
(23 April 2013)
mozart is a funny but serious movie. rahda and josh sometimes can make you laugh and cry. film looks great ,wonder why it went straight to video.
(21 April 2013)
While the rating is PG-13, there are a number of R-Rated words; discussion about rape, sex, and penis size; a sexual encounter; and a suicide attempt. It is a movie we decided NOT to show our 8 year-old Asperger's diagnosed son.It provides a good insight into autism for most people, although the characters in the "group" are each a very specific and different autistic type: The Low-functioning Autistic, the introverted Asperger's, the Savant, etc. Since less than 0.5% of the population has Asperger's Syndrome (so Aspies are not all around you), few people truly do come into contact with the character types portrayed in the film.The typical story line of "couple meets... couple gets together... couple breaks apart... couple gets back together" would have done nothing for this movie without the autism hook.The actors and actresses did a pretty convincing job at portraying autism disorders. We could see our son and his friend (also Asperger's diagnosed) in some of their characters.A good movie if you know an Aspie. A good movie if you don't know one.
(20 April 2013)
This review is from: Mozart & The Whale (Widescreen) (DVD) It was a risk buying this DVD. I don't know if I'll like the story but thankfully, it was well made. The story is original. The actors Radha and Josh well-suited to their characters. Josh Harnett gave his best on this movie and his acting from start to finish deserves a round of applause. Radha Mitchell was fantastic with her role. The story is heart-warming and lets you understand the world of people with autism.
(16 April 2013)
I am so glad I watched this one it would be a travesty for anyone to skip over it. Not only will it entertain you, it will educate you and it will touch you. The acting was fantastic! If you loved The Rainman staring Dustin Hoffman you would enjoy this film as well. I was not aware of Asperger's Syndrome and it was quite curious watching such behavior. Though we have already been exposed to such characters like "Monk" with his OCD. These two though were quirky and funny. Next thing to notice is love in it's purest form. I am intrigued to see that love can make any "handicap" disappear even for just a few seconds, and these people suddenly are no different than you and I. Their emotions are even more burdened with the disorders they face but in spite of such difficulty they connect and probably even in a deeper level than a normal person without any disorder. This movie makes normal people boring! A very intelligent movie and wonderful to watch.
BDeWittP (16 April 2013)
Asperger's syndrome is an impediment, but people can live normal liveswith it. If this were the premise of the movie, it would have been muchmore refreshing. Instead, it seems to be showing us a portrait ofpeople with uncontrolled aspects of the disorder, so grosslyexaggerated to the point that these people look like a bunch of freaks,rather than people trying to live with their disorder. That's too bad,because this movie really had an opportunity to reach a lot of people.I know Aperger's Syndrome, because I have it. Yes, there are somecharacteristics of the disorder that need to be recognized and toneddown. Some of them can be irritating and a turn-off to people.Sometimes the tendencies are unusual intense interest in certaintopics, not recognizing when to leave things alone, failing to readbody language, taking things too literally, and not noticing things orsubjects that people aren't interested in. Okay. Not everyone with itis a person who irritates the heck out of people without Asperger's. Iwonder how many of us so-called "aspies," will find this movie to beinsulting or even infuriating.None of the support group scenes in this story work. There is verylittle discussion about the problems and social difficulties thatpeople with Asperger's have. No talk about behavior modification orimproving the lives of the people involved. It looks more like ahangout for social rejects, rather than a support group. For crying outloud, why wouldn't anyone with Asperger's be insulted by a movie likethis? The love story is never really developed, but simply rushed into. Wesee a physical attraction between these two characters, but nochemistry. There is no real dialog about anything except theirdisorder, and nothing to convince us that their attraction is any morethan physical. Frankly, Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell give these twocharacters better performances than they really deserve. Ron Bass did awonderful job of writing the screenplay "Rain Man." Did he realize thatpeople with Asperger's are much higher functioning? It didn't seem thatway in this movie. So two people with an impediment can fall in love,so what?
(16 March 2013)
It might be interesting to a person who knows nothing about Aspergers or PDDs. It is not not insightful or smart.It is stereotyped. Acting is weak. They should have got more expert advice. Idea is good, the product is not.
(15 March 2013)
This review is from: Mozart & The Whale (Widescreen) (DVD) Gives you an appreciation and better understanding of autistic children and adults and what they go thru in their life. This was nicely done!
mentalcritic (14 March 2013)
About sixteen months ago, after suffering literally decades of the kindof abuse that, if conducted against a normie, would see criminalcharges filed, I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. I pronounce itAsp-URGE-er because the manner in this film is insulting, and whileneither is actually correct, any Aspie with an appreciation for theimages sounds invoke when spoken aloud will back me up on how the otherway reads. But that is one of the lesser evils in this insulting film.I was asked a few months ago if I had seen it after spending a lot oftime on boards presenting the case that autism is not the cripplingdoomsday scenario depicted in the past. I forget who it was that asked,but I have to tell them, this film has nothing in common with thereality of Asperger's Syndrome. The 2000 production of X-Men and itsfirst sequel have more in common with the reality of Asperger'sSyndrome. Take that as ye will. It strikes me as very ironic that intoday's equality-obsessed world, we are forbidden from creatingnegative stereotypes of the black, the Jewish, the Chinese, or theMaori, but it's perfectly okay to create a straw-man of the Aspie thathas about as much basis in reality as an episode of The X-Files.Note that this comment will have much less of the structural flow thanmy usual, because not since a certain episode of Law & Order: NormiesOn Parade has a piece of visual "entertainment" enraged me so. They saythat film and television echoes the attitude of the society it is madein, and if that is true, then America has not progressed one inchbeyond the 1950s. Josh Hartnett portrays an Aspie that resembles nobodyI have ever heard of, in spite of the transparently false claim thatthis film is based on actual events. Here, no Aspie is capable ofcompleting a job, maintaining their own household, or carrying aconversation, despite the fact that history is replete with Aspies thatare responsible for many of the things we take for granted. Every timeyou use a device with a microprocessor in it, thank an Aspie. I doubtthat Einstein or Gates would consider this film terribly accurate,either.I gave this film the most dreaded rating in my scaling system, a twoout of ten, because it is right in the middle of no man's land. It isnot good enough to be entertaining, and it is not bad enough to begood. In the five hundred or so films I have seen this year, it holdspride of place as being the first to make me feel as physically ill towatch it as does any iteration of Law & Order. Judging from reviews onVariety.com and such, it also means that there will now be lesssocially relevant and factual films about characters with Asperger'sSyndrome, because the unknowing morons in the Hollywood system areconvincing the world that Ronald Bass and Petter NÃ¦ss made one. So abig thank you to them for making my life that little bit more difficult(like I really needed that). Thank you very much.Oh, and I have a question for the three people who decided my commentwas unhelpful, probably because of wounded egos over this film. Nowthat a Texan university has created a prenatal test which will be usedin a war of prevention against me and my kind, what do you have to sayto those who feel Asperger's Syndrome and "romantic comedy" do not gotogether?
(13 March 2013)
This review is from: Mozart & The Whale (Widescreen) (DVD) If i could I would give 100 stars. This is my favorite movie. It's about two people who have asergers and them being in a relationship, or at least trying. I love it. I just love it. It's an amazing, touching love asperger movie. I have aspergers, and I know two other people who do and love this movie. Some of them have a few things in this movie. I have a few things too. It's an amazing movie, and I have watched it so much since I bought it. I first watched it on youtube.I would recommend it to everyone. I even had to watch my mom watched it and she loved it too. I wish I had awesome costumes as they have.
youdov (28 February 2013)
I don't know too much about autism. I am not a doctor or apsychiatrist. I see some parallels with 'One Flew Over Cuckoo's Nest'.Heroes are mentally ill, each in his/her own way (one is obsessed withnumbers and parrots, another calls himself a writer, third is ahairdresser that speaks what she thinks). Probably they have somethingin common: they are not in a prison or a psychiatric hospital,extremely lonely and they are members of a self-support group. They areoutcasts, there is a mess in their brains (we can only guess what isgoing on there), they are too much into internal life, some sufferingsand traumas. On another hand they continue to be humans and you can seethe struggle between unpredictable, emotional, spontaneous behavior,fear, anger, helplessness and kindness, care, humor, order. They wantsimple things: understanding, friendship, love, family, job. And theycan get it if they try or they are lucky. They can be accepted bysociety in spite of all their defects. The movie is based on the realstory and it gives hope to that unfortunate category of people.Brilliant movie about humanity with very impressive performance of JoshHartnett and Radha Mitchell.
(28 February 2013)
This review is from: Mozart & The Whale (Widescreen) (DVD) Unfortunately, the terms "disorder, syndrome, disease..." have been associated with a unique group of individuals who are more sensitive than the general population (asperger's or aspies). Unfortunately, the possessors of the most treasured human traditions have been labeled as ill people to be "cured". "Mozart & the whale" does an outstanding and heart-warming job of shedding light on the humanity of those who are most sensitive. The inspiring love story allowed for more in-depth portrayal of common human fears, uncertainties and yearning for connection. Sensitive people (an estimated 15-20% minority of the earth's population) naturally take on the task of connecting deeply and widely. They try to connect with the whole world (not the next ipod purchase), with suffering anywhere and anyhow... On a personal level they enter into powerful emotional bonds that permit them to understand the FEW people they encounter at a level so deep the general population could not comprehend. This takes insurmountable time & effort and exclusive involvement and can be so overwhelming that they many times miss out learning conventional social skills. Anyway, instead of taking the time to understand & cherish these superior qualities, the medical community decides to try to make these "deviants from glorified societal standards" "normal" again i.e. superficial enough to fit in a purposeless world. The value of "Mozart & the whale" was to show that these folks are gifted human beings whose talents often border on genius. Sadly, these talents frequently go completely undiscovered and the possessor fades into oblivion as the "town freak". One aspect the movie touched on briefly is how often aspies fall prey to salesmen and other predators. Jerry is such an inspirational story that had to be told. It took him 15 years to figure out what to say when encountering a stranger! Josh did such a marvelous job portraying the fears, aspirations and courage of asperger's. Radha, the star by all means, embodies this untold story of the ideal sensitive woman, who is not perfect either and who is on a life-long journey to connect and gain acceptance. This is a movie for every library; watch it many times as I did; the longing, watch it for the longing!
(28 February 2013)
My wife and I wanted to see the film since we are interested in (and personally impacted by) autistic spectrum disorders, and also know something about Asperger's syndrome. The premise of the film seemed promising, and I can empathize with some of the other reviewers who were refreshed just to find any film dealing with issues that they face personally through a loved one. What emerged from the get go was that the film seemed to want to do three things at once: (1) inform the audience about Aspergers, (2) play into the curiosity and mythology about peculiar and extraordinary gifts that autistic people can have, by making the two central characters be both beautiful people and extraordinary talented in spite of their "quirks" (one was a mathematical genius, who was obsessed with numbers, basically a higher functioning version of the character played by Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, which was written by the same screenwriter; the other was a brilliant musician); (3) depict a realistic relationship between two people who happened to have Asperger's syndrome. What was clear from the beginning was that the third aim of telling a realistic and compelling story of a relationship was going to suffer in favor of the filmmakers' interest in the first two aspects -- the story became merely a vehicle for explaining and celebrating (likeable and easy to look at versions of) individuals who suffer from and are able to overcome some of the limitations imposed on them by this condition. I believe that a much better film could have been made if the first two aims had been subordinated to the third: tell a story, first, that is compelling in its own right about two people who happen to be suffering from Asberger's and let the details and themes emerge naturally only as they become essential to the story. (For an example of how that can work, it is worth seeing Dirty Filthy Love, a much better film which was able to explain and inform about obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourette's syndrome in a very effective way by telling a compelling and realistic story about two people who were in no way stereotypical.) What killed the film for me (so that I completely lost the necessary suspension of disbelief that allows a story to work on your imagination) was a fairly long sequence near the beginning of the film, in the park during a support group for individuals suffering from autism and Asperger's -- here was a group of people who had obviously known each other for a while, explaining to each other and "illustrating to each other" what Asperger's is (telling each other things like "Contrary to popular belief, people with Asperger's do want to have relationships with other people, but ..."), what its symptoms are, why it is difficult to live with, that there can be different levels at which such individuals can function. Then, to top that off, the filmmakers create a pseudo-crisis that creates a "perfect" opportunity for both of the main characters to tell their life stories to each other in a way that creates an almost instantaneous bond. In the background you have the other characters, who obviously can't function at as high a level as the main two, each with an idiosyncracy that displays itself automatically (as if to say to the audience: look, here is a range of the kinds of textbook symptoms you might come to expect from Asperger's). I am confident that the secondary actors could have done interesting things with their characters, but given that the script didn't give them much to do other than "betray their symptoms" it felt like watching an acting class. None of it was remotely plausible, and even the main characters just felt like ordinary troubled but characteristic people with extreme quirks they were acting out on top of a personality (-- again for an alternative that deals with a different set of issues see "Dirty Filthy Love" where the ways in which the characters had been affected by their disorders were embedded more deeply in their characters and infused what they did in subtle and slowly unfolding ways). Here the filmmakers seemed to want to lay it out on the line from the beginning as if to say very clearly and directly: these people are different from "us" but they are every bit as special and unique and interesting as us. I agree with the message, but I hate being pounded over the head with it -- I'd much prefer to come to it on my own as I watched a compelling story unfold.
(27 February 2013)
This has become my favorite romantic comedy ever. I watched it twice yesterday, the second time with the commentary track (which is rather sparse, but does give one insight into the production of the movie).I have a very high functioning autistic son, and I totally "get" the characters in this movie. Sure, some of them are rather one dimensional, but this movie is only a bit over 90 minutes long, and most of the time had to be spent developing the relationship between Donald and Isabelle. I wish this movie could have been longer with even more character development and background, especially for the Isabelle character.I was immediately impressed with Josh Hartnett's convincing acting right from the get-go, but I had a little trouble with the Isabelle character played by Radha Mitchell. I thought she was just too "Hollywood pretty" and together to be a believable person with Asperger's Syndrome. However, I got accustomed to her looks (easy enough to do) and I realized that her character was very plausable. Some people with autism just radiate their autism all the time, but others may seem to be just a little quirky or eccentric until an event happens that triggers an unusual reaction. The Isabelle character seemed to be an individual who had likely been through a lot of therapy (that's the character development I wish we had more of) and had developed an advanced ability to introspect and manage her Asperger's Syndrome, but she had her unique vulnerabilities which surfaced in response to certain trigger events.Some might say that this movie didn't give a realistic enough picture of autism and Asperger's Syndrome, but perhaps if it did it wouldn't be a comedy. (I haven't read the book that this movie is based on, but I imagine it might have more detail.) People with autism and Asperger's Syndrome can be scary, frusterating, infuriating, brilliant, funny and amazing all at the same time. At times, I thought this movie made light of autism, but then it was meant to be a romantic comedy, not a documentary, and from the commentary I understand that those who made the film had nothing but the best of intentions. It is, after all, based on a real couple's story. Other stuff I liked about this movie:The limited use of animated special effects to demonstrate Donald's mathematical capabilities. Very understated and creative. The soundtrack. Great indy stuff. I found myself staring at the soundtrack credits at the end and looking up the artists to see which songs I could get on CD. Filmed in Spokane Washington!Finally, whatever this movie's shortcomings, it is at least a gift for all of us who have autistic people in our lives. We can "get it" in a way that those without first hand experience likely can't. In many ways, it is dead on accurate, and I just marvel that it was made at all.
Review total: 20, showing from 1 to 20