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Kenneth Branaugh's Death on the Nile: A movie review + autism awareness

I get lost in good movies. I love the escape. At home, I pop popcorn, get in PJs, and make a big show of “THE MOVIE’S STARTING!!!!!!”. Here is my review of Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile- SPOILER ALERT!

Death on the Nile opens with a realistic and gruesome battle scene which explains Detective Poirot’s famous mustache. Solving mysteries already. Beautifully shot gritty battle scenes and wonderful acting make this a powerful beginning to a movie. Bravo!

My movie partner is my 20 year old son, Ben, who has nonverbal/severe autism. Apologies for the interruptions but it’s just part of life over here.

The nightclub scene is essential in setting up some of the main characters and motives. Exciting, bluesy score paired with racy dancing dripping with sexual tension…

“Bah! Bah!” Ben yells at this part of the movie. You like the music Ben? Yes. It is amazing.

“Bah! Bah! Bah!” Yes, I know you like the music. “Bah!Bah!Bah!” Oh- not about the music. Use your iPad- tell me what you want. Ben pulls up his voice output app on his iPad and hits “pasta” repeatedly.

Sorry Ben- dinner is over. All done. All done with food. “BAH! BAH! BAH! BAH!” Pastapastapastapastapastapastapastapasta pasta pasta pastapastapastapastapasta.

Ben is impulsive around food and often obsesses even when he is full. We have a lock on the refrigerator to prevent him from overeating or hurting himself.

At the nightclub…

Pastapastapastapastapasta pasta pasta pasta pastapastapastapastapastapastapasta

Ok Ben - food is all done. To stop the food obsessing, I change the subject . Let’s watch the movie. “AAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH BAH!BAH!” Do you want to watch a different movie? The iPad’s electronic voice- Where the Wild Things Are. I set up Ben in the other room with the cartoon version, his favorite.

Back to the movie! The two lovers seem madly in love until the starlet Linnet enters- her friend? Sister? I missed a little here but I can probably catch up.

Opening of the bathroom door signals help is needed. I run over and give verbal prompts to take care of hygiene issues and flushing.

Madly in love couple broke up? Simon marries Gal Gadot. What was her name?…

“BAH! BAH! Ben stands between me and the TV with bathing suit in hand. Our saving grace to help him balance his sensory needs- a hot tub. Outside we go.

The move transports us to stunning Egypt with the most picturesque scenes- the pyramids, kite flying, bustling market. Just a gorgeous location. The honeymoon group (not sure why they invited people to their honeymoon) moves to the luxurious yacht. The jilted lover arrives to mess with them. They have all the money in the world but no security. Never fear- they enlist the help of Inspector Poirot! You see, they explain, love is love and even though I was engaged to her, after I met Gal Gadot, well, what can I say? I fell in love, broke off my engagement and married my true love. Now Jacquie keeps following us, staring at us.

The door opens. Ben is out of the hot tub and needs help drying off. He seems much calmer. I follow him upstairs and help him put on PJs.

Back to the movie…

Teenager has come downstairs to fix a snack while I was up with Ben. Our pandemic pup, Bear, has managed to steal the butter dish off the counter and carry it outside. I am able to retrieve it only by exchanging a “greeny” treat.

Back to the movie…

“GET OUT!” Ben has barged into teenager’s room and tries to steal her pillow. I run up and smooth things over with a better future script for the teenager. No Ben, this is my room, you have your own pillow. Let’s go find it.

Wait- Ygritte died? How did I miss that?

“…I associate him with the sound of falling sand…” Ben plants himself in the beanbag blaring music. Turn that down a little please. He lowers the volume, I increase TV volume and put on closed captioning. I like that Ben wants to spend time with me and I know that music soothes him so competing volumes is the norm.

Now where were we?

Bear the dog starts a low arrrrrrr. He wants to be pet. Dog noises are Ben’s trigger and he howls “NA! NAAAAAA! NA!!!!!!” I spend the next 20 minutes petting the dog and reassuring Ben that the dog won’t bark. It’s ok. The dog is fine, you’re fine.

Ben stands between me and TV. “Pastapastapastapastapastapastapastapastapasta”

Ok he is probably stressing out because no food available. I will put out an apple or some other healthy item so if he’s really hungry he can eat it. ‘Cerealcerealcereal”

I put out a small bowl of cheerios and cut up apple.

As Ben eats, I return to the movie. Someone else is dead. How did this happen? Is it the kite guy! Why kill him?

As Ben comes back into the room blaring music, I turn to ask him to lower the volume and see the dog jump up on the table to finish the cereal. Jumping up, I put the dishes in the sink and wipe down the table

Back to

Dog: Arrrrggh. Ben: NANNANANA! Dog: Arrrrrgh. Ben: NANANNANANA!

I start Ben’s favorite movie in the other room. Get a bully stick for Bear. Everyone is ok. Bear chooses the coffee table corner instead of the bone. Fine. Whatever. Go to town.

Lock on fridge removed by teenager. Ben accidently dumps mayonnaise and jelly. “NNNNOOOOO! I yell. I run to clean up before Ben or Bear can eat the glass.

Ben backs away hitting the bridge of his nose. Hard. Over and over. I start de-escalating the situation, cleaning up and softly saying its ok, it was an accident, no big deal, sorry I yelled buddy. Bear- get out of there. No its ok Ben, the dog isn’t barking. It’s ok. Deescalating on repeat takes awhile but soon everyone is calm again.

Dog licking sticky floor.

Back to the move, the bodies are piling up and I realize I haven’t really been following the plot.

Run upstairs to brush Ben’s teeth and wash his face. Xoxo Give Ben his meds and he’s off to bed.

The movie is wrapping up. All in all, the parts I saw looked beautifully picturesque and entertaining. I would definitely try to see this movie again.

Signing off,


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