Announcing the 2013 Beat the Heat Staff of Asclepius Movie Awards

To relax during the hottest part of the day, I’ll watch a movie. This year everyone has the opportunity to vote on their favorite movie that features a disabled character.

Announcing the 2013 Beat the Heat Staff of Asclepius Movie Awards

Image: “The Hawaii Theatre Center, a.k.a. The Pride of the Pacific, is an old movie palace in downtown Honolulu, now converted into a performance venue. My old masters at the Hawaii International Film Festival help maintain the 35mm projectors for occasional screenings.” christian razukas from Honolulu, Hawaii WikiCommons

To vote, leave a comment with the name of the movie(s) you have seen (one per category only) really liked, and why. You can even add a movie not listed.

Winners will be announced on July 1st.

And the nominees are . . .


As Good As It Gets — 1997
Disability: obsessive compulsive disorder
Summary: Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is a cantankerous writer with obsessive compulsive disorder who softens when he meets a single mom waitress (Helen Hunt).
Oscar awards: Best actor (Nicholson), actress (Hunt)
Oscar nominations: Best picture, supporting actor (Greg Kinnear), film editing, score, screenplay

Me, Myself and Irene — 2000
Disability: multiple personality
Summary: A state trooper (Jim Carrey) is usually mild mannered and non-confrontational until he’s
pushed to far and an alter-ego comes out. Both personalities fall in love with and fight over a fugitive he’s charged with escorting from Rhode Island to New York.

Benny & Joon — 1993
Disability: mental illness
Summary: Benny (Aidan Quinn) cares for his sister Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson), who has a mental
illness. He also inherits the care of Sam (Johnny Depp), who has a personality disorder. Sam and Joon fall in love while Benny struggles to decide if he should send Joon to a group home.


Girl, Interrupted — 1999

Disability: mental illness
Summary: Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) recalls her experiences as a young woman who was admitted
to a mental hospital in the 1960s.
Oscar awards: Best supporting actress (Angelina Jolie)

Forrest Gump — 1994

Disability: developmental disability, spinal cord injury
Summary: Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), a man with a developmental disability, is on his way to see his lost love and tells his life story to others as he sits at a bus stop. Forrest’s commander in Vietnam, Lt. Dan (Gary Sinise), has a spinal cord injury from the war.
Oscar awards: Best picture, director (Robert Zemeckis), actor (Hanks), visual effects, film editing, adapted screenplay
Oscar nominations: Best supporting actor (Sinise), art direction, cinematography, sound effects editing, makeup, score, sound

Children of a Lesser God — 1986
Disability: Deaf
Summary: Sarah Norman (Marlee Matlin) is a former student at a school for the deaf who resists a new teacher’s (William Hurt) efforts to teach her to read lips and use her deaf voice.
Oscar awards: Best actress (Matlin)
Oscar nominations: Best picture, actor (Hurt), supporting actress (Piper Laurie), adapted screenplay

The Horse Whisperer — 1998
Disability: amputee
Summary: A young girl (Scarlett Johannson) and her horse are injured in a riding accident and the girl’s leg is amputated. The girl’s mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) takes her and the horse to a man known for rehabilitating horses.
Oscar nominations: Best song (“A Soft Place To Fall”)

I am Sam — 2001
Disability: developmental
Summary: Sam (Sean Penn) must fight for the right to maintain custody of his 7-year-old daughter (Dakota Fanning).
Oscar nominations: Best actor (Penn)

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape — 1993
Disability: autism
Summary: Gilbert (Johnny Depp) must care for his brother (Leonardo DiCaprio), who has autism, and his mother who is obese. Oscar nominations: Best supporting actor (DiCaprio)


X-Men 1,2 or 3

Disability: spinal cord injury
Summary: Professor X runs an academy for “mutants” — people with superhero powers. The X-Men team must defend themselves against anti-mutant legislation and the villainous mutants. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) uses a wheelchair.

Iron Man 1,2 or 3
Disability: heart damage
Summary: “When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.”

Star Wars 3,4,5 or 6
Disability: amputee, sever burn damage
Summary: In a galaxy far far away a son (Luke Skywalker) and father (Anakin Skywalker) become entwined in a battle between the forces of good and evil.

Daredevil — 2003

Disability: blind
Summary: Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) becomes blind after being exposed to hazardous waste as a youth. The accident leaves his other senses with superhuman sharpness. By day, Murdock is a lawyer. By night, he fights injustice as the masked superhero Daredevil.

Unbreakable — 2000
Disability: osteogenesis imperfecta
Summary: When David Dunn (Bruce Willis) survives a major train wreck without a scratch, Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) takes notice. Elijah, who has osteogenesis imperfecta, thinks he has found a person who is at the opposite end of his condition — someone who is never sick or injured.


Gattaca — 1997
Disability: congenital heart defect, mobility injury
Summary: This science fiction movie stars Ethan Hawke who plays Vincent Freeman, a character with a congenital heart defect, who wants to experience space travel. Jude Law, playing Jerome Eugene Morrow, an athlete with a paralyzing injury, enables Vincent to progress on his mission.
Oscar nominations: Best art direction-set decoration


It’s a Wonderful Life — 1946

Disability: deaf, mobility
Summary: George Bailey (James Stewart) sees finds out how much he means to his friends and family when he gets a glimpse of what the world would have been like had he never been born. George is deaf in one ear and Mr. Potter uses a wheelchair.
Oscar nominations: Best picture, director (Frank Capra), actor (Stewart), film editing, sound

Love Story — 1970
Disability: cancer
Summary: Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) and Jennifer (Ali MacGraw) fall in love and marry. They struggle with family issues until she is diagnosed with cancer.
Oscar awards: Best score
Oscar nominations Best picture, director (Arthur Hiller), actor (O’Neal), actress (MacGraw), supporting actor (John Marley), screenplay

Based on a True Story

A Beautiful Mind — 2001

Disability: schizophrenia
Summary: Russell Crowe plays Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Forbes Nash, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The movie is based on the Nash biography of the same title.
Oscar awards: Best picture, director (Ron Howard), supporting actress (Jennifer Connelly), adapted screenplay.
Oscar nominations: Best actor (Crowe), film editing, makeup, score.

Frida — 2002
Disability: polio, mobility
Summary: Salma Hayek plays Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who had polio as a child and sustained a back injury during a bus accident. Kahlo’s physical disabilities seem to have influenced her art.
Oscar nominations: Best actress (Hayek), art direction, costume design, makeup, score, song

The Sessions – 2012
Disability: paralysis due to polio
Summary: “A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.”

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – 2007

Disability: paralysis
Summary: “The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn’t paralyzed.”

Mask – 1985
Disability: deformity
Summary: “A teenager with a massive facial skull deformity and biker gang mother attempts to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.” Based on the life of Roy L. Dennis.

My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown – 1989
Disability: cerebral palsy
Summary: “The story of Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy. He learned to paint and write with his only controllable limb – his left foot.”


Touch the Sound – 2007
Disability: Deaf
Summary: “Tells the story of Jarin, a 14 year old deaf boy, who made the decision to get the Cochlear Implant. Now Jarin has to develop his own identity and explore his place between two opposing cultures.”

Murderball – 2005
Disability: parapalegics
Summary: “A film about paraplegics who play full-contact rugby in Mad Max-style wheelchairs – overcoming unimaginable obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.”

Monica and David – 2005

Disability: Down syndrom
Summary: “Explores the marriage of a young couple with Down syndrome, and the family who strives to support their needs.”


Movies with Characters with Disabilities

Internet Movie Database

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About Tara "Masery" Miller

Tara "Masery" Miller is a Neo-Pagan panentheist Gaian mage living in the Ozarks with her husband and pets. She's also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. She is the editor of Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul which you can find at Immanion press. She has a minor is religion from Southeast Missouri State Missouri State University with an emphasis in mysticism. Masery has lead various groups over the years and organized Pagan Pride Day events. Her magic and author page is at

  • Guest

    The Elephant Man is a favorite of mine because it depicts how badly handicapped people were treated by some people in England many years ago. It is a sad movie that provokes feelings of compassion.
    Rain Man is another of my favorites because I have a son that is autistic and can relate to the main character, Raymond, and how he behaves, Dustin Hoffman did an excellent job portraying the character Raymond. Tom Cruise is not one of my favorite actors but he was the right pick to play Raymond’s brother.

  • M. R. Miller

    A Beautiful Mind was one of my favorite movies, very thought provoking and interesting; It really puts you into the character’s head.

  • hiorses

    My Favorite is Benny and Joon. Johnny Depp was Awesome as Sam. And played a great character. And he like Joon and he was really caring and didn’t care Joon had a mental Illness. He stay with her. Fell in love with her. and in the end lived with her in their Apartment together. What I liked about it. Was that it proved that if you have a Mental Illness you can fall in love and get married or live with some one or even live by yourself in your on Apartment. In Benny and Joon. The reason I liked the movie the most. the character Johnny played Sam never judged Joon . He just loved her the way she was. I good see Johnny acting this way if he really married some one with a Mental Illness. He would not judge the person he would just love them and take care of them. I know if Johnny met people and knew people that had a Mental Illness. He would treat them just like everyone else and never judge them and be friends with them. And not label them and not want to be around a person that had a Mental Illness. Because that is the kind of person Johnny is . He would never label people with a Mental Illness. He would treat them just like any one else he met or knows. Because Johnny is such a Nice and Kind Man. And he would never treat any one differently just because they have a Mental Illness. Johnny isn’t like that he treats everyone the same way. That is why I Love johnny Depp so much because he is different from other stars. He treats all people the same no matter if they have a Mental Illness or not. He treats everyone the same way. That is what makes Johnny so great. And Why I like him so much. Johnny would never hurt anyone’s feelings for any thing. Johnny is a great man. An a True Gentleman who would never hurt any one by labeling them different if they had a Mental illness. He would just treat them like a regular person. And respect them and know that people with Mental health only needs help not made fun of or treated different because the have a mental Illness. He knows people are all the same and that is why Johnny treats everyone the same. That is what makes Johnny The Greatest Man ever… Love you Johnny. A Fan Forever. Sharon Athey.

  • disqus_drDYAwgoXZ

    What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, As Good As It Gets, GATTACA

    They’re just really good movies. I especially love GATTACA (and one day we will have such technology as they do in the movie…scary).