This post is about love and disability in the movies – that is, love stories with disability intersections.
Love and Disability in the Movies
Hollywood loves disability (just not disabled actors).
It also loves love.
There are a lot of movies that have intersections of both love and disability; it’s just super rare to have movies with disabled actors playing disabled roles with intersections of love.
Here’s a smattering of some movies with love/disability intersections to get you going.
Crip Camp in Love
Ann Cupolo Freeman and Sam Freeman recount their love story. Jim LeBrecht (Co-Director of Crip Camp) speaks with them both about identity, acceptance and finding love as a person with a disability.
Autism in Love
A documentary following 4 adults with Autism as they navigate romantic relationships
Monica and David
A beloved documentary within the Down syndrome community.
Monica and David follows the weeks before and after the marriage of a couple with Down syndrome.
Children of a Lesser God
One of the sexiest movies I know, holy cow.
Young Marlee Matlin (who is really Deaf), and William Hurt.
It’s about a Deaf woman and hearing man’s relationship, set in a Deaf school. The film below is on YouTube but costs $2.99 – you can get it in DVD from Netflix (not available via stream), or on Amazon, linked here.
Peanut Butter Falcon
I loved this movie so much (- my full review is linked here)
This isn’t where the disabled person falls in love, but there is love galore in this movie, so it’s a must-see!
The Station Agent
This was the first movie I saw with Peter Dinklage in it, and WOW!
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
A man develops locked-in syndrome, and finds love. I couldn’t find a captioned trailer, but the YouTube rental movie should be – it costs $2.99. It’s also available through Amazon, linked here.
I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!
It’s one of my very favorite movies related to Down syndrome (- see my post on Sex and Down syndrome).
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it on YouTube for you. I’m pretty sure it’s on Netflix DVD (not streaming though, I checked) and it’s on Amazon, linked here.
Any Day Now
This movie broke my heart and stayed in my mind for years.
Based on a true story, it’s about love, yes, and of rights, justice, of an impossible, wrenching world.
The Theory of Everything
Famous movie that won tons of awards, because nothing is as inspirational or triggers the awards as a non-disabled actor playing a disabled role!
The love stuff in this movie is awesome. It doesn’t tell you though how he left her much later for a nurse, etc, but in this movie itself, the love is great.
The Phantom of the Opera
My all-time favorite love story, disability-related or not.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!
You can find it in full on YouTube (but I think the captions are only in Spanish in the free version? better check on that!), and on DVD with Netflix; Amazon is linked here.
The Fault in Our Stars
I know this I’m supposed to love this, but I don’t.
It’s too treacly for me, and I’m too old for this kind of predictable love story.
But! It’ll be great for some of you – it was popular with mainstream for a reason!
It’s there (and captioned) for free on YouTube, but should also be available on Netflix DVD. Amazon is linked here.
The Way He Looks
This looks really cute.
Oooh, Eric Stoltz and Wesley Snipes!
More disability appropriation, sigh. But I do like them.
I haven’t seen it personally, but it’s the story of a man struggling to deal with his paralysis (with the intersecting love story). The full movie is is on YouTube. It seems to be available on Netflix streaming and DVD, you watch on Amazon, linked here
Love and Other Drugs
I like Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhall, so this looks like a fun movie, even though, of course, it’s total disability appropriation.
A love story about a woman with Parkinson’s and a drug company representative.
The Boy in the Plastic Bubble
OH MY GOD!!!
Early (pre-Grease) John Travolta!
This is the story of a boy born without an immune system and his reach for love with the girl next door.
Of course, all non-disabled playing disabled roles, but I still want to watch it, because, 1976 John Travolta!!
You can watch it on Netflix DVD, and on Amazon. The YouTube movie linked above is apparently the full movie but it’s only captioned in Spanish.
Keep the Change
This was recommended in the comments last year, and it does look cute, so I wanted to include it, especially because the majority of actors in it seem to have a disability. Available on Amazon, and Youtube.
50 First Dates
I went back and forth over whether or not I should include this….
On one hand, sure, it’s all over brain injury and love, but on the other hand… it’s SO WRONG ABOUT BRAIN INJURY!!
I don’t know if it’s a total disservice to those of us with brain injury to watch it, because you might come away thinking you really understand brain injury!
This movie is ALL WRONG about brain injury but it is cute. I do like Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler together, shhh, don’t tell anyone.
Available all over the place, because it’s not a recent movie.
I don’t have more information about this video (- the description on YouTube is all in Hebrew, which I don’t read, unfortunately).
Nevertheless, I loved this celebration of their union and love and wanted to include it in this postThat’s the short list for now. I’d love to hear your suggestions and what love and disability movies really floated your boat.
- Beyond Children of a Lesser God: 20+ Best Deaf Movies
- BirdBox: A Movie with Blind Advantage
- The Interviewer (Will Blow Your Mind!)
- The Best Down Syndrome Awareness Videos
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.