Rupert Isaacson and Kristin Neff seem the best of parents — concerned, loving, patient, intellectually enlightened — and yet they’re worn down by their four-year-old autistic son, Rowan, with his four-hour tantrums, his rejection of toilet training, his inability to answer to his name. But Rowan calms a bit sitting on a horse, and that brings us to the compelling center of this documentary.
Parents and child, accompanied by filmmaker Michel Orion Scott, fly off to Tibet, land of horses and epicenter of shamanic activity. Can Rowan be “civilized” and “socialized” by a combination of horseback riding and the hands-on of spiritual wise men, who intuit that his mom’s womb was filled with “black energy” from her manic-depressive gardener?
The Horse Boy is a nicely photographed real-life adventure, and with some wisdom about autism for everyone along the pathway.