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Friday, April 17, 2015

Tribeca Review: AUTISM IN LOVE

Lindsey and Dave
Photo Credit: Scott Uhlfelder

2015, 75 minutes
Not Rated

Review by Joshua Handler

Matt Fuller's Autism in Love could have easily been an overly sentimental, heavy-handed mess, but instead, it is a thoughtful, good-hearted, moving, and above all, honest film that follows four adults with autism and their relationships (or lack thereof). Autism in Love strikes an impressive balance of sweet and sad, sometimes hitting those notes simultaneously.

The film tells three stories: that of Lindsey and Dave, who are in a relationship, that of a younger man, Lenny, who wants to be in a relationship, and that of Stephen and Geeta, a middle-aged married couple. Each of these three stories is uniquely compelling and heartbreakingly real. The immense amount of trust that each person places in Fuller makes the interviews incredibly candid and real. One of the most revealing moments in the film is one in which Lenny sits down with Fuller and breaks down. It is a moment of vulnerability rarely shown in documentaries, and the amount of courage required to show this on camera is something that few people have.

Many documentaries fall into heavy-handedness when exploring subjects like this one, but Fuller never allows his film to stoop to those low levels. Fuller trusts the strength of his material and his subjects enough to allow them to speak themselves.

While the film is a wonderfully short 70 minutes (without credits), it wouldn't have hurt to spend more time with Lenny, Stephen, Lindsey, and Dave. They are such complex, endlessly interesting individuals that you almost wish that the film had another 10 or 20 minutes added to it. This is also one of the few documentaries for which I would welcome a sequel.

A film like Autism in Love shows how real life can be the most amazing story of all. Stories like these keep us wanting to see more, just like life does. The universality of Autism in Love's themes make it even more moving than it already is.


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