Hulu's 'Wildflower' brings disability representation to life

Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Hulu's 'Wildflower' brings disability representation to life
This Disability Pride Month, "Wildflower" on Hulu is being hailed as a landmark for how it depicts neuro-divergent adults. Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has more.

NEW YORK -- This Disability Pride Month, "Wildflower" on Hulu is being hailed as a landmark for how it depicts neuro-divergent adults -- people who face intellectual challenges due to autism, dyslexia and other conditions.

"Wildflower" was made with the cooperation of the disabled community and some of its leaders have praised it for the honest way the film depicts people with intellectual disabilities.

One month after its release on Hulu, "Wildflower" is still one of the most-searched movies on Google. It has captured the attention of the public because it's very compelling and the cast is filled with familiar names.

However, for the disabled community, this project has a significance beyond mere entertainment.

A child must learn to act like an adult in "Wildflower" and take care of her parents because they have intellectual disabilities.

"The beauty of this story is she had to grow up a lot quicker, but underneath she knows that love is all there is, and that's what matters in life," Dash Mihok said.

Mihok has been frank about the fact he has Tourette syndrome.

Samantha Hyde is also neuro-divergent in real life.

"When I was like, I want to be an actor, everyone was like, 'well you don't know how to act norma,'' It's like 'excuse me, I have to pretend to be normal every day," Hyde said.

The choice of these two performers has earned the film praise from one leader in the disabled community.

"The push for authentic casting is very, very important in my community," said Jim LeBrecht from 1IN4 Coalition.

LeBrecht is the co-director of the Oscar-nominated documentary "Crip Camp" and an advisor to the makers of "Wildflower."

"This really represents where we should be in Hollywood where we're, you know, part of the fabric of life," LeBrecht said. "I mean we are a real family."

The film was inspired by the real family of director Matt Smukler. The characters are based on a few of his relatives.

"And he captured a dynamic you can only capture if you know what it's like to be in it," Kiernan Shipka said.

The power of "Wildflower" lies in how honestly the specific challenges are shown.

"And, it's really important you know we're constantly looking to overcome the old stereotypes of disability that we're less than, or disposable," LeBrecht said.

1IN4 Coalition takes its name from the fact that one in every four Americans has a disability.

Entertainment Reporter Sandy Kenyon shared that as the stepfather of a neuro-divergent individual, he found "Wildflower" to be deeply moving and meaningful.

It is streaming now on Hulu, which is owned by the same parent company as this station.