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Recommended by Disability

Limb & Spinal Conditions: Major Films   no photo.
TitleFirst Steps (1985) (TV Film)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityLimb wheelchair
CountryUSA
Length100
GenreDrama
Rating2
DirectorSheldon Larry
CastJudd Hirsch Amy Steel Kim Darby Frances Lee McCain John Pankow James B. Sikking
NotesAfter a car accident a teenage girl is paralysed. A bioengineer seeks to help her walk again using electric stimulation. The film is basically painting by numbers, most of the right buttons are pressed, and there's the appearance of reality. But this is sanitised stuff. Though her spine is broken she is perfect is every other way. Her face immediately after the crash is unmarked even though we can infer it would be otherwise. The film has parallel stories, one of her struggles, the other of the scientist's work. The finale is of her walking, with electronic stimulation, to receive her high school diploma. What was wrong with her using her wheelchair, what's so great about standing up in the way it is represented here? Of course there is an important film to be made about this technique. British TV did a good programme on a woman learning to walk by this method. But what she achieved was limited to standing at the bar of a pub. It's a technique for the future in which paraplegics are the guinea pigs and which one day will be wonderful. But for now is the dedication of so much time by the disabled person to raise themselves from sitting to standing and then nothing further worth it? It also confines the person to being a patient and not developing their life.

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