Wretches & Jabberers

Wretches & Jabberers

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Wretches & Jabberers (2010)

Opened: 07/30/2010 Limited

Theater List07/30/2010
Laemmle's Fall...07/30/2010 - 08/05/20107 days
AMC Empire 2504/01/2011 - 04/07/20117 days
AMC Rolling Hi...04/15/2011 - 04/22/20118 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Genre: Documentary

Rated: Unrated


Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette are two men with autism who have limited speech but a whole lot to say. As young people, both faced lives of isolation, unable to convey their inner intelligence. It was not until adulthood when each learned to communicate by typing -- giving them a way to express their thoughts, needs and feelings -- that their lives changed dramatically. After more than ten years of advocating for people with autism, they felt it was time to take their message global -- to help people with autism in other countries around the world break through the isolation they both knew so well.

Tracy, Larry and their support team, Harvey Lavoy and Pascal Cheng, joined forces with Academy Award®-winning filmmaker, Gerardine Wurzburg, and Producer, Douglas Biklen. "Our goal was to shine a light on autism internationally. Larry and Tracy’s journey allowed us to portray the global face of autism through the personal stories of six men and women throughout the world," explains Producer and Director Wurzburg. The result is the feature documentary, Wretches and Jabberers: And Stories from the Road, a provocative mixture of advocacy, personal portrait and travel adventure film -- seasoned with liberal doses of humor.

The film provides a rare opportunity to hear directly from people with autism about how they understand and experience their own disabilities. Larry types, "Autism is not abnormality of the brain as much as abnormality of experience." Interspersed with their travels are glimpses of Tracy and Larry's formative experiences in the States. For Larry, 52, who spent ten years of his childhood in a mental institution, painting became his outlet. He finds that his art makes people "want to listen to his artistic voice not his autistic voice." However, he notes, "nothing I did... convinced people I had an inner life until I started typing." Tracy, 42, spent his school years in segregated classrooms isolated from his peers. His breakthrough also came from typing, when he was 23-years-old. Though he now communicates with audiences of all kinds for his advocacy work, Tracy admits that he is still prone to "intense anger" about his situation. "I have always been very angry about my autism and didn't get seen as intelligent until I was out of high school."

Despite their struggles, the two men reveal profound wisdom about their lives and convey their acceptance of autism as an expression of the diversity of humanity. This theme of diversity is underscored by the variety of customs, food and cultures of the people visited by the men -- in Sri Lanka, Japan and Finland. Viewers share their eye-opening experiences as they negotiate the terrain of travel, culture and new friendships on what they aptly name The World Intelligence Magnified Tour.