The Other Sister SPED 214 Introduction: The movie “The Other Sister” is a romantic comedy released by Touchstone Pictures in 1999 by director Garry Marshall about Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis) a 22 year old woman who is developmentally delayed and her struggles and accomplishments she has showing her family her father Dr. Radley Tate (Tom Skerritt), her mother Elizabeth Tate (Diane Keaton), and her two sisters Caroline (Poppy Montgomery) and Heather Tate (Sarah Paulson) that she is capable of making her own decision in her life. After growing up in a “special school for people like her” (Special Education Schools pg. 0) she has been sent home to reconnect with a family who does not know how to relate to her condition or see her for the person she is inside. Her biggest struggles are with her mother who has deep seeded guilt for being the one who chose to send her away and cannot seem to except she is different and always will be. In this paper I will try touch on her journey through the movie and how she finds someone who can love her for who she is Daniel McMann (Giovanni Ribisi).
Carla and Her Family The movie starts with her father going to get Carla from the “special school” she spent most of her life.When Carla was younger her parents did not understand her and could not deal with her outbursts, yelling, slamming doors, and general aggression. They received a letter from her school that they couldn’t deal with her and would not allow her to return. (That letter would be a violation of FAPE of 1975 PL 94-142. pg.
14) When other children taunted Carla she didn’t have the skills to cope with them so she becomes angry and aggressive with another child to the point she pushed him down some stairs because they wouldn’t stop laughing and mocking her.Carla’s mother decided to send her away to a place where there were others “like her” to protect her other daughters and in her mind protect Carla. She let her daughter’s disability define who she is and that was all she could see of her (not using people first language pg. 11). Carla is grateful to her sister Heather for treating her like a person, writing letters, and talking to her unlike her sister Caroline who just drew pictures to communicate with her like she wouldn’t be able to understand.
When Carla returns to her parents’ home she is uncomfortable and Elizabeth thinks she has to hover over Carla’s every move and decision to protect her from harm. Even though she always talks about Carla where she can hear her and she talks about how much Carla embarrasses her and she want to quit being her mother. This makes Carla run away back to her old school where she is comfortable. (Least Restrictive Environment pg. 16) The Headmaster at the school informs the parents what Carla needs is school, social interactions, and independence to gain her own dignity and have to opportunity to grow into an adult (Transition Components of IEP pg. 2). Carla and School Even though Elizabeth is afraid Carla will be humiliated the same way she was when she was when she was younger little Dr.
Tate takes her to enroll in a class. Carla enrolls herself in a computer course. Carla is uncomfortable during her first general education course in a regular school because she is afraid she doesn’t fit in like the others. She doesn’t act like the other girls or dress like them. However with some reassurance from her father she adjusts well and the instructor does check on her making sure she understands the material.She is so proud when she passes her first class ever in a regular school with a regular teacher.
One of Carla’s greatest assets is that she has a great amount of self-determination to achieve any of her goals. She sees going to school and getting a diploma the first step to become a veterinarian assistant what she wants to do. Carla and the Community Carla has always been a source of great embarrassment to her mother. Even now when she comes home as an adult and tries to include herself in conversations and ends up saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and upsets her mother to the point where she doesn’t even acknowledge Carla is there.
When she takes Carla to events such as an award speech at the animal shelter, Carla would rather play with the dogs then listen to people talk. The other people also point out how “your daughter is barking” further aggravating the situation because they don’t want to or know how to deal with her. (Social Competence pg. 166) Carla is very easily distracted by simpler things that she likes and she doesn’t care if it is an appropriate time or not.Thinking like this encourage others reactions, they laugh at her, make fun of her for not knowing how things work without being told (like a makeover in the mall, they only do one side and you have to pay for the other side), and try to take advantage because they seem like they can’t take care of themselves (like the bullies at the entrance of the door to the school blocking the way).
Carla doesn’t care how other people see her, she is happy and secure with who she is inside. Carla and Daniel Carla’s first day at school is where she meets Daniel McMann.He is mentally challenged, like Carla, but more socially withdrawn because of how he has always been treated by others. Carla knows how to stand up for herself and tries to do that for Daniel against some other students who are being mean to him.
He told Carla how he attended a regular school but he had to leave because he was too old. They would always call him retarded, dumb or stupid which in turn makes him see himself that way. (Attributions pg. 163) When Daniel fails his course in school Carla tells him how she was taught in her other school, learn the easy things first then try for the harder things (Universal Design for Learning pg. 8). He is afraid to that Carla will think he is dumb and not be his friend anymore. He tells how he is afraid to lose Carla as a friend because she is the only person who has ever talked to him. He was always alone and isolated in his classes because he was different.
When Daniel’s father decides he will not pay for his son to live on his own any longer because he didn’t pass his courses Daniel turns to drinking. It is when he was drinking to become “brave” he embarrasses Carla and they fight and break up and Daniel leaves to go live with his mother.Carla and her Independence After Daniel starts to show Carla around town and how to use things like the buses he tells her he has his own apartment and a paying job along with volunteer work with his greatest passion marching band music.
Even though he has help taking care of his bills, rent, and allowance he works to prove he is responsible. This is what she wants for herself to be truly independent. After her family stands up for her at her birthday, against her mother, her parents agree to let her have an apartment but under their terms and close to home.
Elizabeth does finally stand up for Carla while looking for an apartment when the realtor asks if it will be safe to rent to someone “like her. ” Elizabeth doesn’t like it when someone else speaks that way yet that is what she does. She belittles her husband, puts down both of her other daughters, the school teacher is not applying herself by not being a college professor, the other will never be happy because she is a lesbian and won’t have a husband and children, and Carla because she will never be normal.
These are some of the other reasons why Carla wants to be on her own because no one else is happy in the family and she can feel it and see it and it causes a lot of stress. Carla and Love Carla and Daniel grow closer and even though they have a hard time relating to each other as a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, they do fall in love. They find comfort with the familiarity of each other’s desires to be on their own, make their own choices, and how others treat them.
Carla wants everything to be special for them and seeing her sisters both in love she wants that for herself.Everything goes wrong for them when Daniel and Carla break up after a public argument and Daniel gets on a train to go live with his mother. Daniel realizes he doesn’t want to ever live without Carla and get off the train and hitchhikes back to California to find her. He crashes her sister Caroline’s wedding and asks Carla to marry him and she accepts. Elizabeth tells Carla not to do it because he can’t take care of her.
But Carla tries to make her mother see that they can take care of each other. She wants her mother to see her and accept her for who she is and just love her.That’s all she has ever wanted from her and she knows she can get that from Daniel. Carla planned her own little wedding to Daniel on Valentine’s Day without any ones help or money. They have a perfect little ceremony, with her sisters as bridesmaids, her father walking her down the aisle even though her mother didn’t come until the end to support and accept them. Carla and Daniel just want to be together forever in love. Conclusion This is a story of what all people want acceptance, dignity, and love.
This movies show that a disability can only define you if you let it.Everyone has goals, dreams and desires in life and sometimes some people need a little more help to reach them. And personally I know life is never easy, struggles and triumph define us, and love is rare so when you find it open you heart and let it in. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t show them you will. References: * Casting information from: http://www.
imdb. com/title/tt0123209/fullcredits * Page quotes: Introduction to Special Education Making a Difference, seventh ed. Smith, D.
, Tyler, N.