Film Review – My Feral Heart

“We’re not so different”


At a time where screening for Down’s Syndrome in pregnant women is threatening to become easier in the UK, this film is extremely important and relevant. Through breaking down negative assumptions about what life with Down’s Syndrome is like, this film provides a timely positive portrayal of the ‘condition.’ Many people assume that people with Down’s Syndrome cannot be ‘independent,’ that they would be unable to cope without their parents, and that essentially they are different from people without the ‘condition.’ However, this film shows that “we’re not so different.”

The film begins by turning a significant stereotype on its head. The main character, Luke, who has Down’s Syndrome is not only ‘independent,’ but is also caring for his elderly disabled mother with no outside assistance. The audience is shown Luke doing a variety of tasks, living a seemingly happy life with his mum. However, when she passes away social services neglect to see Luke’s abilities and believe that they cannot leave him alone. Because of this, they force Luke to leave his own home and go to a residential home. This highlights the real strength of the existing dis/ableist assumptions in society. Assumptions which are consistently challenged throughout the film.

Once in the residential home, two main elements to the plot unfold. First, the development of Luke’s friendship with a man who is doing community service in the field next to the residential home. Second, an injured ‘feral’ girl is found by Luke in the field one day and he nurses her back to health in an abandoned barn. This second element is perhaps the most unclear part of the story line. But it’s potential to make the audience think is significant. Each member of the audience may take a different message home from the film.

This film is about love, loss, and relationships. It is a film that can make you laugh, smile and cry. A film that I would definitely recommend, as it brings home an important message. People with Down’s Syndrome, are “not so different.” Their lives can be just as rich, and bring just as much joy to other people’s lives, as the lives of people without Down’s Syndrome.


Author: jsirotkin

I'm new to blogging so please bear with me! I am a first year PhD student at the University of Leeds in the Sociology department, aspiring to be an academic in disability studies. My current research is looking at why some disabled people have been mistreated within health and social care. I am still trying to figure out how to do this project, so much of this blog will document my research journey/thoughts. Comments are very welcome! I became interested in this topic, as my mum and sister are both disabled people who use care/support services. I support them in organising these services so that they can live in their own home. Views all my own!

2 thoughts on “Film Review – My Feral Heart”

  1. I love your review and I loved this film so much. I agree with all that you’ve said. I’ll add that I love the film because Luke was not portrayed as the one ‘needing looked after’. Instead he was the carer. He was independent and just like the rest of us… though maybe his pride in looking after his mother meant he did it better than I myself perhaps would. He was a phenomenal character. My own son amazes me in his practicality and his ability to see what’s really important rather than what society tells us what’s important. I am impressed by this film in so many ways. I wouldn’t change a hair on my son’s head and I feel that I am the one changing because he sees the world in a true light and I hope to one day have the emotional intelligence that he naturally has. Well done to all
    involved with the Feral Heart!!


    1. Thank you! Yes exactly, I loved that about it too. My sister has Down’s Syndrome and I wouldn’t change her for the world either (and neither would anyone else in my family)! And I just hope that lots of people watch the film and come away with positive views on Down’s Syndrome and people with learning difficulties. & I second that well done to all those involved with the film!!


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