Dad thought I’d probably enjoy this. Then he thought again. As someone with a cleft lip and palate, I’ve had my own share of stares and cruelties as a child. I’ve also felt the pain of being the parent of an affected child. Perhaps it might be too close to the bone? he wondered.
He need not have feared. I was not uplifted. I was not cast down. My main response to this movie was nausea at its unrelenting saccharine-ness.
The little boy who starred in the movie does not have Treacher-Collins syndrome. His appearance was created through prosthetics and makeup. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I acknowledge that it would be an exceptional child who could both act and live a life of being stared at and shunned. I don’t know if anyone would want to play in a kid’s head that way.
On the other hand, there’s something inauthentic about a movie with the message of “you are beautiful no matter what” and “be kind” choosing a non-affected child to pretend to have Treacher-Collins. Something a little too easy about being able to wipe off the prosthetic and then go on to the next movie. I’m uneasy about it.