Opinion

Movies don’t intend to offend with disability portrayals

Ever since Jordan Peele’s movie “Us” has hit theaters, it’s been buzzing.

Viewers have gone to see it twice just to pick up on things they did not catch the first time around. Others are going to criticize. The lead actress Lupita Nyong’o is getting backlash today for her “voice disability” portrayal in the movie.

If you have seen the movie, you know what I am talking about. If you have not, basically, the character’s whose voice she portrays has been strangled and also hasn’t really talked for years, so her voice is very strained and raspy when speaking.

Nyong’o apparently got the inspiration for the voice from larynx disorder, vocal cord hemorrhages and personal experience with vocal injuries. She allegedly offended those with larynx disorder by giving an evil character their sound.

To me, it’s hard to see what the big deal is.

It is a fictional story. Movies have to create a whole new world with new people, each with their own quirks.

If they happen to have a minor disability, such as a voice issue, it isn’t meant to attack anyone, especially because Nyong’o’s character in “Us” actually has had problems with her throat and voice.

It was nowhere mentioned in the movie that her character had larynx disorder. Her voice was merely inspired by it.

This leads to portraying disabilities on the big screen.

Some people are against it, and some people are for it. I personally do not see a problem with accurately portraying disabilities in a movie, even if it’s done by a person who may not have those disabilities.

Some of these stories need to be shown, or these disabilities need to be exposed to those who aren’t aware of them.

Some brilliant movies have come from portraying disabilities: “Rain Man,” “Forrest Gump,” “I Am Sam,” to name a few.

Sure, they are not as prevalent in horror movies as much as genres, but that doesn’t mean they’re trying to bash that group of people. It just happened to fit better for the story.

Those who criticized Nyong’o also said that Hollywood tends to make the character with disability evil or an object of pity, which, again, I don’t find to always be true.

Maybe the movies I mentioned previously are emotional, but they aren’t meant to pity the characters. They’re meant to empathize with them and help the world realize they’re just like us.

In a horror movie, it could be a little hard to get around, but in the case of “Us,” it was played out really well. For example, there’s another horror movie called “Hush” where the victim is a deaf woman. She defies all odds and lives through the whole thing.

Disabilities in movies are most times meant to empower a character or really have them stand out.

It would make sense for a group of people to be angry if they were outright attacking their disability, but in the case of “Us,” I really don’t think they were, or even meant to.

If anything, it just piqued interest on why her voice was like that. Plus, Nyong’o’s character may even be seen by some as the good guy, not the evil one. Watch “Us” and judge for yourself.

Categories: Opinion

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