Why People With Autism Should Watch Black and White Movies


Growing up I thoroughly enjoyed old movies.  I guess to today’s youngsters they would be considered “ancient” movies! 🙂  The old black and white movies always fascinated me.  My favorite movie still today is “Singing in the Rain” with my favorite actor Gene Kelley. I suppose just looking at him you could see why I loved him so much.

Gene Kelly

However, it wasn’t Gene Kelly’s good looks that got me hooked on musicals and old black and whites.  I love “Oklahoma” and “Pillow Talk” and the “Tammy” movies.  I love Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Shirley Temple, and a whole host of others.  So then what exactly was it that kept me interested?  Most people find these pictures boring, especially the silent movies, but not I.  There wasn’t huge action scenes with great affects, so it definitely wasn’t my ADD that was satisfied (which is why I love action films).  I use to think it was because I love to dance.  I am not ashamed to say that I”m the crazy chick with a broom that’s dancing to Rick Astley hoping he won’t ever let me down!!!!  I’m also the insane girl who tried to recreate the famous log scene in “7 brides for 7 brothers”.  (and no I couldn’t make it work!)  I was also the girl who knew every Shirley Temple line and could recite most of Doris Day’s movies.

I now know it was my autism, but what part of my autism was satisfied?  Well, none.  You see just a few days ago I watched “Sabrina” the old black and white version with Audrey Hepburn.  I still loved it, but while watching her first dance with David it hit me as to why I love these old movies.  It’s because I can understand what they are feeling.  Their facial expressions are so over exaggerated (which is the reason as to why so many people don’t like them) that I can understand what they are thinking and feeling at that moment.  My autism prevents me from seeing and understanding micro-expressions; however, exaggerated expressions of disgust and sometimes fear I can see.  In old black and white movies ALL of their actions from their body language to their facial expressions are exaggerated.  I can take these into account and draw an understanding from them.  Lets look at the difference.  

Sabrina looking sad

The almost kiss

Even in this one you can see the exaggerated expressions

Look at how happy they are

In all of the above pictures taken from older movies you can see exactly what they are feeling because ALL of their facial expressions are exaggerated.  Their mouth is open and smiling and eyes wide, and it tells me how happy they are, but let’s take a look at current movies.

is she in awe? is she scared? no clue

is she scared? is she inquisitive? I have no clue again

And although the 2 above were just quick references and I’m sure I could have picked better ones, my entire point is that in today’s movies the facial expressions and body language is not as expressed as years ago.  So, then what do I watch in today’s movie era? I love action and adventure.  I love supernatural and certain comedy.  I love all comedy from Adam Sandler.  I also love all movies intended for the black audience.

What information can we gain out of this post? Well, nothing really.  I mean what I have to say to anyone with autism that is having a hard time enjoying today’s movies give the oldies a try.  You might be surprised at how much you get from them!

~LenaJeanne

PS.  Top three are “Singing in the Rain”, “Pillow Talk” , and “Oklahoma”

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2 thoughts on “Why People With Autism Should Watch Black and White Movies

  1. Very good blog today Sweetie. Great insight. I never thought about this, but it is true, and that was the whole point of the oldies, especially before “talkies”, the actors had to get their meanings across to the audiance with facial expressions and body language. Nicely done.

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