Autism in Love

Maybe I’m a little hungry, but to me, finding a good movie on Netflix is like finding the juicy peach hearts among all the other loser gummies. Fucking jackpot!

Autism In Love is, you guessed it, a documentary about people in love or looking for love, who also happen to be autistic (to varying degrees). Director Matt Fuller does an impressive job of teasing out a narrative that rarely gets seen in mainstream media: they’re on the spectrum, but they have needs and desires too.

We’ve tended to categorize autistic people as being emotionless, but that’s not true at all. They struggle to recognize and express feelings, but they’re there, and the more I learn about autism, the more I see similarities instead of differences. Autism in Love follows 4 individuals who I have to thank for their openness and bravery. It’s not easy for any of us to expose our vulnerabilities, and I can only hope they know how moved their audience has been.

autism-in-love-clip3-mezzanineLenny is a young man in his 20s who, not unlike his peers, is struggling to find himself. He’d like to find a girlfriend, preferably  a very independent one, but he feels strongly that they’re all out of his league. There’s anguish here. Lenny will break your goddamned heart. Lenny is a smart guy in his way, and he’s aware. He’s aware of how much his differences have set him apart and all he wants is to be “normal.”

Stephen is a middle-aged gentleman who’s been married for several years to a1655622 woman with her own disabilities. Though not a classic love story, you can see how much love and care there is between them. His wife knows how to get him talking, and how to recognize his affection. It’s incredibly endearing.

Lindsey & Dave are a young couple who are high-functioning professionals  navigating a romantic relationship that’s just a little bit harder when both partners are autistic. But when you watch them together, 5aa879377a107381d73f413b652bff71it’s embarrassing, but you start to think that they’ve got it right, because in recognizing their weaknesses, they’re actually working harder at overcoming them than a lot of the rest of us. Their communication is open and honest, even if it’s a bit of a trial. Everyone should be so lucky.

What Fuller puts together is a piece that’s stereotype-shattering. It’s personal and intimate; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry. And you’ll come away with a better understanding of what it means to be autistic, and what it means to search for love no matter who you are or where you fall on a spectrum.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

32 thoughts on “Autism in Love

  1. emmakwall

    That opening paragraph was a scorcher! Made me smile 🙂 VERY TRUE about those sweeties!!

    This sounds brilliant, really really up my street. Excellent review Jay. I no longer have Netflix (cos it’s rubbish in the UK) but I can find this elsewhere.

    Autistic people are all different, just like we are. Some are very affectionate as well! This sounds like a very heart warming and brilliant doc 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
  2. drhumpp

    My first adult job was working with clients with autism. It’s challenging work precisely because of how complicated the dynamic can be between them.

    The sad part is how low the pay is. My wife and I both worked there but knew that it wasn’t a feasible career when we decided to start a family. Not that there aren’t compassionate and caring people in the field, but it really doesn’t pay enough to be a career for most people.

    Great review!

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
      1. drhumpp

        It’s true. It can be very hard work physically and emotionally. I admire anyone who would stick with this despite the low pay. I know I couldn’t.

        Like

      2. Jay Post author

        Have you seen Short Term 12? It’s with Brie Larson. She works in a group home. Very real movie about social work in all of its glory.

        Like

    1. emmakwall

      Totally agree. I find it bizarre how carers are paid so little yet are given one of the most important jobs in the world – looking after people!!!! People – with thoughts, feelings and pain thresholds. You probably get paid more to cold call…

      I work part-time with kids who have learning difficulties and/or disablement and they are literally the nicest kids I’ve ever known. All of them. So unassuming, so kind. It breaks your heart in a way. And the children with autism are all very different from one another. Some display ‘classic’ signs like asking lots of questions and doing things in specific order or pattern (etc) but some of them are the ‘opposite’ of the known stereotype and enjoy being extroverted (doing a ‘dance show’ for everyone for example) or very affectionate and always wanting hugs!

      Liked by 6 people

      Reply
      1. Jay Post author

        Thank you! The disorder can look so different on different people, and it truly is a spectrum. I think we’re only now starting to truly realize what that means.
        That’s important work that you do. Early intervention can mean so much. We saw another documentary at Tribeca recently called Life, Animated that’s all about finding the one thing that a kid with autism is passionate about and learning to relate to them that way. Really interesting stuff.

        Like

      2. drhumpp

        Absolutely. If you thought someone was a “routine” client it’s because you didn’t know them well enough yet.

        As for the pay, it’s sad, but I got paid more working retail.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Christopher

    My godson has Asperger’s and you’re absolutely right: he’s reserved but far from emotionless. I worry about the challenges he’ll face but I also believe he’ll accomplish great things.
    A few years before he was born I read about some people with autism who’d formed a group with the purpose of dispelling misconceptions about autism. People with autism are often assumed to be loners–like the subject of Oliver Sacks’s essay “An Anthropologist On Mars”–but the very fact that a group came together to work toward a common goal showed what a misconception that is.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Well I think you’re right – I think we’ve kind of been inured with this picture of a one-size fits all version of autism, but that’s not accurate. And I think in a lot of cases we don’t see things because we’re not taking the time to look. With autism it seems a lot of it’s still there, it’s just being expressed differently. And honestly, that’s a good reminder for all of us to look a little harder because we’re all just trying to find ways to express ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. fifi + hop

    Great review – I hadn’t heard of this movie before but will now def check it out. Have you read The Rosie Project? A fictional book, but the same topic – autism and love – it’s a heartwarming, special little book.

    Like

    Reply
  5. Andy Smart

    Never knew about this film. Been working with autistic people for years so am really interested in finding it. Great blog btw > some thorough and really well done reviews here.

    Like

    Reply
  6. Pingback: The Do-Over | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s