It was in 2007 that a 13-year-old non-verbal autistic child from Japan called Naoki Higashida bared his inner world in an autobiographical account. His book was translated to English from Japanese under the title ‘The Reason I Jump’ in 2013 by author David Mitchell. Using the same title, filmmaker Jerry Rothwell has made a documentary that features many people with autism, who succeeded despite the condition.
Rothwell’s movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020 where it won the Audience Award in the World Documentary category. The film is not entirely based on Higashida’s story alone; it waves in the insights and key moments in the book to the loves of five other non-verbal autistic people from around the world. Through passages of the book, the documentary explains how autism is perceived by the person having and those around them.
The movie went on to win several more awards at major film festivals throughout 2020. In mere 82 minutes, the film takes viewers on a journey inside an autistic mind as well as informs one about the varying levels of severity with which autism can affect different people. It leaves with a warm feeling, and a positive conclusion denoting the potential of everyone shown in the documentary.