A Londoner returns to his ancestral homeland of Donegal in the west of Ireland and is drawn in by a teenage boy who almost kills him in a car crash.
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At three years old, a chatty, energetic little boy named Owen Suskind ceased to speak, disappearing into autism with apparently no way out. Almost four years passed and the only stimuli that engaged Owen were Disney films. Then one day, his father donned a puppet—Iago, the wisecracking parrot from Aladdin—and asked “what’s it like to be you?” And poof! Owen replied, with dialogue from the movie. Life, Animated tells the remarkable story of how Owen found in Disney animation a pathway to language and a framework for making sense of the world.
Tetsumu, an introverted youth, realizes he has a natural ability of communicating with elephants. This prompts him to leave for Chiang Mai in Thailand to become Japan’s first elephant trainer. Having found his place in the world, Tetsumu develops into a strong, confident young man. He returns to Japan with the dream of building a green “paradise” for his ivory-tusked friends. Meanwhile, he starts a career as an elephant trainer for touring shows. He meets Emi, a woman seven years his senior and falls in love.
Up-and-coming sports reporter rescues a homeless man (“Champ”) only to discover that he is, in fact, a boxing legend believed to have passed away. What begins as an opportunity to resurrect Champ’s story and escape the shadow of his father’s success becomes a personal journey as the ambitious reporter reexamines his own life and his relationship with his family.
Diminished by grief, 18-year-old Tess (Kelly Van Der Burg) is moving through her life like a ghost. The one thing that comforts her is listening to the music of Danny Sharpe (Joel Thomas Hynes), a local legend who left home almost 20 years ago. Tess is stunned when she wakes up one day to find him in her kitchen, igniting a spark of life in her that grows out of control.