12 Films You Can Stream Featuring Individuals with Disabilities

Written by Beth, staff member, Captain William Spry Public Library

On International Day of People with Disabilities, we celebrate the diverse lives of those with different types of disabilities, both visible and otherwise. These stories can open our eyes to how others move through the world and come up against walls that abled people often can’t see. With both feature films and documentaries, there’s something for everyone on this list.

Using your library card, you can stream these films online through hoopla or Kanopy! Many are also available for borrowing on DVD and/or Blu-Ray.

Feature Films

1. Still Alice

Based on the novel by Lisa Genova, Still Alice is the story of a linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease when she is 50. The film follows her and her family as they navigate this new reality.

You can watch Still Alice on hoopla!

Still Alice 

2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is about Oskar Schell, a nine-year-old with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His father tragically dies in 9/11, and the film follows Oskar as he deals with and lives through the aftermath.

You can watch Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on hoopla!

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

3. Frida

Frida is the story of famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who lived with physical disabilities after an accident. Shortly after the film begins, Frida is on a bus when it collides with a streetcar and is impaled by a pole. She miraculously lives, but she must live with the consequences of her injuries.

You can watch Frida on hoopla!

4. A Time for Drunken Horses

A Time for Drunken Horses is an Iranian film about a Kurdish family. After his parents die, young Ayoub must take charge. His younger brother has a developmental disability and is also in need of medical attention. A Time for Drunken Horses follows Ayoub as he does anything he can to raise the funds to help his brother.

You can watch A Time for Drunken Horses on Kanopy!

5. Cake

After a car accident that kills her son, Claire Bennet suffers from chronic pain. She has become bitter and addicted to her pain medication. After making comments about the recent suicide of another member of her support group, Claire is asked to leave. The film follows her relationships with the people in her life after this, especially with her housekeeper.

You can watch Cake on Kanopy!

Cake

6. Margarita with a Straw

Margarita with a Straw is an Indian Hindu-language film about a university student with cerebral palsy. Laila Kapoor is studying in India, but decides to relocate to America to finish school. There she makes friends, and falls in love with a girl named Khanum who is blind. 

You can watch Margarita with a Straw on Kanopy!

Documentaries

7. OCD and Me

WHO, the World Health Organization, has stated that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is one of the ten most debilitating illnesses. This documentary tries to get to the heart of it by speaking with people who suffer from OCD as well as experts on mental illness and OCD. 

You can watch OCD and Me on Hoopla!

8. Code of the Freaks

Code of the Freaks is a recent documentary about the representation of disabled people in films. It tackles worn-out tropes and stereotypes, highlighting the impact of representation on the attitudes of society toward people with disabilities.

You can watch Code of the Freaks on Kanopy!

9. Normal People Scare Me

Normal People Scare Me is an acclaimed documentary about the lives of people on the Autism Spectrum. Made by an Autistic filmmaker and his disabilities advocate mother, Normal People Scare Me takes an interview style approach. They ask questions of their participants that neurotypical/allistic people may not think to, such as, “Do you like being Autistic?” 

You can watch Normal People Scare Me on Kanopy!

10. Borderline

Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the most painful and most misunderstood mental illnesses. This documentary follows one woman’s experience with BPD.

You can watch Borderline on Kanopy!

11. Read Me Differently

While in post-secondary education, the filmmaker, Sarah Etine, realized she has dyslexia and ADHD. Unfortunately, late diagnosis of learning differences and neurodivergence is very common, especially for girls and women. In the film, Etine explores how these issues have impacted three generations of her family and their relationships with one another. 

You can watch Read Me Differently on Kanopy!

12. Invitation to Dance

Invitation to Dance follows one woman’s experience with physical disabilities in the 21st century and her activism through dance.

You can watch Invitation to Dance on Kanopy!

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