Rowan Isaacson was two years old when doctors diagnosed him with autism. His parents, Kristin Neff and Rupert Isaacson, did their best to find the sort of treatment that would most benefit Rowan, but they soon discovered that while medical science has a name for the condition, they don't know much about it or how to help parents break through the wall it raises between their child and the world. Refusing to give up on their son, Rupert and Kristin sought out alternative treatments. Rowan responded most positively to animals, especially horses; his parents then made an audacious decision to journey to Mongolia, where horses and an ancient shamanic healing tradition are both revered. Director Michel Orion Scott documented the family journey in the film The Horse Boy, and in the process captured the daily frustrations Kristin and Rupert endure as they try to communicate with Rowan. The film also reveals the beauty of an alien country and the enthusiastic little boy's response to his animal friends, which in turn lays bare the active and happy mind that was locked in on itself. The Horse Boy is not a "disease-of-the-week" TV movie, but a film about parents and children trying to find each other in a wide and strange world. The Horse Boy screens at 7 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org). Admission is free.
Thu., April 8, 2010