Movies & TV Featuring people with MD (and similar disabilities)
The Theory of Everything
The Theory of Everything is a thoughtful study on the impact of disability in interpersonal relationships and families. Taken from the true-life story of Stephen and Jane Hawking, the film depicts a shared life, illustrious career, and beautiful family that continues to grow in the face of Stephen’s ALS diagnosis. The Theory of Everything is an Academy Award nominated film adapted from Jane Hawking’s memoir, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.
Breathe is a 2017 biographical drama film directed by Andy Serkis in his directorial debut, from a screenplay by William Nicholson. It stars Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hollander, Ed Speleers and Dean-Charles Chapman, and tells the story of Robin Cavendish, who became paralyzed from the neck down by polio at age 28.
In this 2013 film when David, a wheelchair user with muscular dystrophy, accurately foretells the death of their fourth grade teacher, a doubtful Lyle decides to test the existence of God by attempting to get David to run again.
The Healing Powers of dude
The Healing Powers of Dude, is a family comedy about Noah (Jace Chapman), an American middle schooler with social anxiety disorder, and is streaming on Netflix. Noah’s friend, Amara is played by Sophie Kim, an eleven-year-old with muscular dystrophy who has used a wheelchair since she was four years old. RespectAbility worked closely with the show on the character of Amara.
The Fundamentals of Caring
A poignant and, at times, darkly comedic road trip movie. Ben is the newly hired and wholly under-qualified carer of teen with DMD, Trevor. Together, they embark on an adventure that defies the limits of Trevor’s mobility and allows him a glimpse into the world outside his home. The film explores the limits placed on people with disabilities by society and the healing power of having a friend.
US TV Series (2013-2014) starring Australian comedian Jim Jefferies, Billy Nugent is a man with severe muscular dystrophy sprung from a nursing home by a trying-to-do-good friend.
Knuckleball (2007) is the story of Brett Leake who was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at 13. With the support of his family, he has become a nationally recognized comedian appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno five times.
A Day in the Life of Felix
(2008) Born in April 1999 with a rare form of muscular dystrophy condition called Nemaline Myopathy. Felix has the severest form and is on a ventilator, tube fed, uses a power wheelchair and has a whole set of issues arising from his profound muscle weakness.
A Life Worth Living: Pushing the Limits of Duchenne
(2012) Jon Hastie has Duchenne – a severe form of Muscular Dystrophy. Prognosis – paralysis, 24 hour ventilation and an early death. Time is precious. Time is not for wasting. Jon decides to travel around the UK and Holland visiting a number of amazing Duchenners who have carved out remarkable lives for themselves. A Life Worth Living is no ordinary road movie. It’s a fun, inspiring, poignant and surprising rock ‘n roll journey that takes us into the lives of guys who, against all the odds, show us how valuable life is. The film bears witness to the fact that life is to be treasured and lived to the full. Keep up to date with Jon Hastie at www.alifeworthlivingfilm.com
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
A groundbreaking summer camp galvanizes a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality.
Growing Up With Spinal Muscular Atrophy
(2016) Noël Ratapu was born with a condition that means she is gradually losing muscle strength and mobility. Now 15, Noël has found her voice and identity in the lens of the camera as she accepts life with a disability and documents her journey through photography.
(2016) Defiant Lives introduces the world to the most impressive activists you’ve never heard of and tells the story of the rise and fight of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia.
Articles on Representation of people with disability
Attitude Foundation is shaping a new understanding of disability through the promotion and development of media content that provides realistic portrayals of people with disability.
- This article from Bustle looks at how to get representation of people with disabilities right.
- Cerebral Palsy Alliance asks Why the representation of disability in film matters
- 10 Movies & TV Shows That Increased Disability Visibility
What do you think of how people with disabilities are portrayed in films and on TV?
Disabled Actors in Film / Hollywood
There is a wealth of talented disabled actors, but all too frequently they are overlooked, even when it comes to portraying disabled characters. For some, this may not seem like a huge deal, but film can be a powerful force for change and inclusion, which is why accurate representation and truly equal opportunities are so important.
This article stresses the importance of representation and walks through the film industry’s history with portrayal of people with disability. It also has lists of disabled actors, and movies with accurate disability representation. Check it out here: