Animation review: ‘Loop’ about non-verbal girl

July 6, 2020

Marcus and Renee: still from Loop

Exposure’s autistic author, Max Ferreira looks at Pixar’s amazing new short on some people’s struggle for connection

Pixar has been creating memorable movies and shorts for over 30 years. Recently when I was looking up Disney Plus, I spotted a new nine-minute film that caught my attention. It’s called Loop.

Loop is about a 13-year-old girl called Renee who’s autistic and non-verbal. She is paired up with Marcus, her support assistant for the day on a canoe ride. As they row down the river, Marcus – who isn’t familiar with Renee’s condition – struggles to understand what she is trying to say.

What I like about Loop is that it shows Renee’s personality and how Marcus, who’s not autistic, tries to understand her emotions by observing what she wants from him. For example, Renee uses her phone to direct Marcus to row into the reeds, as she wants to feel them.

This is Pixar’s unique short film showing the reality of vulnerable young people struggling to communicate or socialise with new people

Also when Renee becomes very overwhelmed, Marcus stays with her until she calms down. The scene is a good example of how we need to be patient and respect a young person with special needs, whereas some would be either upset or even unpleasant with their lack of understanding as to why Renee is displaying ‘strange’ behaviour.

Erica Milsom, the creator of Loop has worked with young disabled people. She said, “Over time, we’d find a way to connect, often without words… but it wasn’t immediate, and it took effort on both sides.”

This means Erica and the Pixar team were addressing how tricky it is to interact with a young autistic person with little eye contact, unusual behaviour and with some unable to communicate with other people. This shows how we all need to be educated and be patient around others.

Unlike Owen Suskind (in the documentary Life, Animated) or artist Stephen Wiltshire, who both have autism and use their passions to help them communicate, non-verbal young people with autism need special therapy and educational support (e.g. sign language) to help them develop into adulthood, as well as trying to fit in with everyone else.

As a young person with autism I found Loop charming, colourful and full of surprises. Like BBC’s documentary My Autistic Big Brother and Me, this is Pixar’s unique short film showing the reality of vulnerable young people struggling to communicate or socialise with new people.

I strongly recommend everyone to watch this nine-minute animation on Disney Plus. One day we will all meet and know someone with autism and learning difficulties.

You can sign up to Disney Plus and watch Loop.

For more information about autism and communicating, go to the National Autistic Society website.