Autistic Characters in Film and TV

Film review: Power Rangers


Rochelle Renee, Sisterhood of the Autistic Woman member

Blog: Proud Autistic Living

I went to see Power Rangers last night. I am happily surprised with just how genuine a job they have done with the character Billy Cranston.

Perhaps for the first time we have seen a situation where a big budget Hollywood production have not gone with either a totally token approach or a deeply pathologised approach.

In Billy we have a non-whit autistic person who is open about his autism, understands that his different, and even states – my brain just works a bit different.

He’s not a white lad from the suburbs but a black kid, living in a situation where he his mum is widowed, there are siblings but they don’t come into it.

Billy is in trouble at school, but not because of stereotypical meltdowns, but because he blows up his locker.

Billy stims – yes stims in public, he lines up his pencils, he states he doesn’t get sarcasm and the like, in all of this there is not a negative judgment it just is what it is.

Billy doesn’t just stim once – he stims throughout the movie. It’s just a part of who Billy is.

I haven’t found much to be negative here, there’s not much that could really be done much better that I can see.

The only thing I could say that would have made Billy even better would be if he was Queer, or Trans or female or something like that, that would be representative of more intersectionality of the Autistic community.

I was never into the Power Rangers show, probably I was born a bit too long ago, I went to see this really to see what kind of a job they did. And I am so glad I did, they did a job that I reckon many of my Autistic tribe could go and see and be pleased with, identify with and see something of themselves represented up there on the big screen minus the pathologising and stigmatising.

I’m guessing that just maybe they actually consulted some #ActuallyAutistic people with this one.

It would be grand if this became the movie that everyone thought of when the word Autism was mentioned rather than Rain Man.