When I took my kids to see the 2015 animated film “Home” I was blown away. To me as a person who loves many people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it seemed like the entire movie was a parable for what it’s like for kids with ASD as they attempt to navigate life.
The hook of “Home” is that aliens called the Boov invade Earth and relocate all human beings. As a species, Boovians are cowardly, antisocial, and strict rule followers. They avoid confrontation whenever possible. But Oh, the main character, is different from the rest of the Boov. He is eager to make friends and fit in, yet everything he does annoys his neighbors. When Oh tries his hardest to blend in, he sticks out the worst. The customs of his fellow Boov are foreign to Oh. They speak a social language he can barely understand.
Facial expressions also confound Oh. He doesn’t understand when another Boov is angry with him. When Oh attempts to make friendly conversation, he drives Boovians further away.
Despite his lack of social awareness, Oh is quite brilliant. He’s a mechanical genius, even by the advanced technological standards of his fellow aliens. Oh has a gigantic heart and proves himself to be a loyal friend.
Jim Parsons did an exceptional job voicing Oh and made him a loveable character in spite–and because of–his quirks.
As a former teacher, I think “Home” could be a great tool for classroom conversations because it could help neurotypical children empathize with students who have ASD. “Home” can also help children better understand relatives who have ASD which is an ongoing topic in so many households today.
Besides all that “Home” is entertaining too!