Christian Wolff (The Accountant)

From Autistic characters wiki
Christian Wolff
Portrayed by Ben Affleck (adult)
Seth Lee (child)
Appears in The Accountant
Year 2016

Christian Wolff is the main character of the American action-thriller The Accountant.

Character creation

Actor Ben Affleck and director Gavin O'Connor met up with several autistic people between the ages of 18 and 35, and decided on 3 people who determined the general temperature for the character of Christian Wolff. Writer Bill Dubuque is a fan of the idea of an autistic character not being the victim for once, and using their skills. Lots of R&D went into designing Christian's living and working spaces, such as his Airstream trailer.[1]

The screenplay was part of the 2011 Black List (an annual list of the most-liked movie scripts).[2]


Early life

Christian "Chris" Wolff was diagnosed with autism somewhere in his childhood. He has one younger brother. His parents took him to Harbor Neuroscience, where the head doctor suggests their son spends the summer at the center, in a sensory-friendly environment. His father, an army colonel, refuses, believing that Chris should be prepared for the real world by being toughened up. Not much later, his mother (Lauren Alton) leaves - apparently not being able to deal with the strain on the family caused by the father refusing help for Chris. He and his brother keep moving between military bases with their father, who trains them in martial arts, handling weapons and stoicism. Sometime later (at least 13 years), when his mother passes away, Chris and his father go to her funeral, where a fight breaks out, his father dies, and he goes to Leavenworth military prison.

Becoming an accountant

He gets transferred to a Treasury detention center in D.C. to aid the Treasury in tracking down al-Qaeda money laundering. This is where he meets Francis Silver, an accountant who launders black money and who kept the books for the Gambino crime family. Francis and Chris fraternize, and Francis teaches Chris the ropes of black money accounting. Francis was in protective custody, working as an informant for the federal government after the Gambino family had tried to liquidate him. However, Treasury agent Raymond King releases Francis, who is quickly tracked down by the Gambino family and tortured to death. Upon learning of Francis' death, Chris escapes prison and murders the people responsible for the torturing. The house where this happens is bugged by Raymond, who goes in and ends up being held at gunpoint by Chris. Chris lets him go after asking him "Were you a good father?", which Raymond thinks he was.

Eventually, Chris ends up working as an accountant for a variety of criminal organizations, working with his partner "The Voice" - a woman with a British accent who he only connects with via the phone. Chris also relays information to Raymond King about people who break his moral code via The Voice. At the end of the film, it is revealed that The Voice is Justine, a non-speaking autistic woman whom he met at Harbor Neuroscience in his youth. He makes generous donations to Harbor Neuroscience, which allows the center to keep operating and give Justine the equipment she needs. For his illegal activities, he frequently has to change identities, although he always opts for names of famous mathematicians (Christian Wolff is also an alias).

Living Robotics

Chris is hired by Lamar Blackburn to audit his company Living Robotics, after junior accountant Dana Cummings seems to have discovered inconsistencies in the books. Chris finds that indeed a ton of money has been embezzled, but isn't allowed to finish his audit after the CFO of the company has been killed by a hitman. Not being able to finish leaves him very distraught.

A team of hitmen tries to take him out, but he manages to neutralize them and figures out that another team is going after Dana. He kills those hitmen as well, and flees with her to a hotel after having visited his storage unit. The storage unit contains a camper with guns, artwork, money and other valuables, including original Pollock and Renoir paintings. He uses this camper to be able to flee quickly if need be. While spending the night talking at the hotel, he and Dana realise that the embezzling at Living Robotics was part of a big scheme to increase the company's value for when they go public on the stock market.

Chris goes after the people leading Living Robotics to get an explanation. Eventually he finds Lamar Blackburn, takes out his team of hitmen, save for the last, who turns out is his brother Braxton. Chris kills Lamar and, after an initial brawl, amicably agrees to meet up again with Braxton.

When all is well and done, he anonymously sends Dana the Jackson Pollock painting, after which he drives away with his camper.


Chris and Justine as children

Chris himself states that he has "high-functioning autism".

In an early scene depicting young Chris at the Harbor Neuroscience center, he is shown solving a puzzle that is lying face-down on the table while rocking back and forth. He starts melting down when he can't find the last piece, but calms down when young Justine finds it. This not giving up until a task is finished is both a strength and a great stumbling block for him.

He is shown having a violent meltdown when his mother leaves, throwing objects, kicking a hole in the wall and hitting his head. He often repeats the Solomon Grundy nursery rhyme in moments of high stress to calm him down. He also blows on his fingers sometimes before picking something up.

Chris has a monotone voice and neutral facial expression, not really engaging in small-talk or saying much more beyond the strictly necessary. However, when he gets excited (such as when explaining what he found to Dana), he visibly perks up. His house is meticulous, he only has one fork, knife, spoon, plate and glass.

Every night, he spends 20 minutes in his room with loud music and flashing lights while rubbing a wooden roller on his legs. At one point he is having a meltdown during this ritual and hits his leg with the roller until it's bleeding and the roller breaks. His father was of the opinion that his sensory sensitivities should be desensitized instead of accommodated.

Chris has savant-like abilities in the maths department; he is able to run through massive amounts of data to spot even the smallest incongruities. He can also do mental math with very large numbers.

He states that he finds socializing with other people difficult, even though he wants to.


The movie was first screened for Autism Speaks and other organizations related to autism, who received it positively.[3]


  • The word "stimming" is used an explained in the movie, when the lead doctor at Harbor Neuroscience explains to his parents why Chris is rocking back and forth.
  • Chris has lived in 34 homes in 17 years in his youth.
  • The puzzle of Muhammad Ali that Chris solved face-side down at the beginning of the film hangs framed in Justine's room at the institute.

See also

  • Justine, another autistic character in The Accountant


External links