A girl born with autism and signs of other severe mental defects is kept out of institutions as a child and sent to live on a ranch with her aunt (Catherine O’Hara)as a teen (Clare Danes). There she shows profound animal empathy, even developing a mechanism to calm the animals. When arriving at the social terror that is college, she is mentored by a compassionate teacher (David Strathairn) who fosters her natural ability, leading her on the path of becoming a leading agricultural adviser. Temple Grandin sidesteps usual biopic traps and, with excellent performances from Danes and Strathairn, strives to use innovative techniques to tell the story of a truly unique individual.
*** out of ****