Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism, A
Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism, A

Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism, A

The Sunshine Boy is a moving, compassionate portrayal of a mother´s desperate quest to understand the perplexing condition that controls her son. A journey through different countries and cultures, where every stop-over opens a new path into the depths of autism – and places her son in a strikingly different perspective as the journey reaches it's end.


Imagine not being able to engage with the world around you. Imagine not being able to express your
feelings, dreams and aspirations to anyone, even if those feelings, dreams and aspirations are in no way less or inferior to those of other people. Imagine having to depend upon the assistance of others to complete even the simplest of tasks, like dressing or feeding yourself. Imagine living with all of these limitations despite being of sound mind; aware of everything that is going on around you but incapable of letting anyone know.

The Sunshine Boy, a documentary by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, tells the story of Margrét, a mother who has done everything in her power to help her son. Keli is eleven years old and is severely autistic - his parents do not even know if he understands Icelandic, let alone other languages. Although Margrét holds no unrealistic aspirations on behalf of her son Keli, she has a quenchless thirst for knowledge about the mysterious and complex condition that autism undeniably is. During her quest for information Margrét meets other families and hears their unique stories about how they too have been touched by autism.

On a course set to include the United States and Europe, she meets with scientists in the field of autism and autism therapies and the parents of autistic children who share her passion; to break down the wall between the children and the surrounding world. This journey becomes lengthier and more dramatic than she ever could have envisioned at the start. During the trip, she catches a glimpse of hope that her son can be helped to a larger degree than previously assumed.

Perhaps it is possible to break down the wall of autism and get to know the individual behind it?

About the film

  • Type: Documentary
  • National Premiere Date: January 9, 2009, Háskólabíó
  • Length: 103 min.
  • Language: English
  • Original Title: Sólskinsdrengurinn
  • International Title: Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism, A
  • Production Year: 2009
  • Production Countries: Iceland
  • Website:
  • Icelandic Film Centre Grant: Yes
  • Production Format: HDV
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Color: Yes
  • Sound: Dolby


Company Credits


  • Two Riversides Film and Art Festival, Polland, 2012
  • Europe on Screen, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2012
  • Santé, International Health Film Festival, France, 2012
  • Imagésanté, International Health Film Festival, 2011
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Retro, 2011
  • ImagéSanté International Health Film Festival, 2011
  • International Film Festival Breda, 2010
  • Off Plus Camera, 2010
  • Festroia International Film Festival, 2010
  • Artfilmfest International Film Festival, 2010
  • Gimli Film Festival, 2010
  • Summer Film School, 2010
  • Vancouver International Film Festival, 2010
  • Göteborg International Film Festival, 2010
  • Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, Icelandic and Norwegian Day, 2010
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, 2010
  • Edduverðlaunin / Edda Awards, 2010 - Award: Nominated for Documentary of the Year. Nominated for Sound Design of the Year (Kjartan Kjartansson, Steingrímur E. Guðmundsson, Björn Viktorsson). Nominated for Editor of the Year (Þuríður Einarsdóttir).
  • Toronto International Film Festival, 2009 - Award: Kanada
  • Pusan International Film Festival, 2009 - Award: S-Kórea
  • Nordisk Panorama, 2009

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