Not perfect but is a challenging and warm view of able and disabled people, regardless of the views we are conditioned to have of them
With unemployment high, Julie takes a job at a disabled persons home and is assigned to the difficult and abusive Rene as one of her group. Rene is rude and distances himself from everyone with his anger and turns of rage. Failing to stop his anger but winning his trust, Julie learns of the reason for Rene's anger he has not had sex for many months and, with his appearance and disability is unlikely to ever be able to win over a woman again. Rene asks Julie to get him a prostitute to help him out.
If advertising, music videos, films and television has taught us anything then it is that sex and sexuality is the possession of the young, thin and beautiful. This is not to say that fat, ugly, stupid, old or disabled people don't have sex or aren't sexy, just that them doing it is not something that the mainstream media wants to have anything to do with! I'm not stating these things as fact but this is what we are taught by the images we get everyday hence this film (also called 'Uneasy Riders') seemed a bit of a tough sell. And indeed it is and it is to its credit that it manages to slowly win you over while still challenging at the same time. The plot is simple but it is the characters and the script that wins the day; the disabled characters are treated with as much dignity as the able bodied staff and there is no judgment here. The narrative at times is unlikely but it works well and the ending's step back into the reality is an inventive and nice touch. The digital video feels a little cheap at times until you get used to it and the direction is a bit too amateur and rough for my own tastes (too close, too jerky etc) but it is covered by the strong material and isn't a major detraction.
The cast of mostly non-professionals do very well, although it is sometimes difficult to accept them as 'people'; I don't mean this as a dig but it is hard to shake off the image of the disabled that the mass media has given me (us) and take this film on fresh. Kaci is very attractive but also very human, she is sympathetic and frustrated by equal measure and she is not as simple a character as she could have been. Gourmet manages to make Rene difficult but do it without alienating the audience. His desire for sex is difficult to accept (again what I am told everyday by the media) but he makes his Rene a real person and it really works well. The support cast are mostly non-professionals and they do well; not all of them are given as much to work with as Gourmet but they provide colour and life that also helps to challenge preconceptions.
Overall this is not an easy film to get into at first but it quickly wins you over with its cheerful view of humanity and warmth. The script and actors give all the characters a real sense of reality and dignity and it easily overcomes the views that we are fed by the media on a daily basis (what is and isn't normal). Not without flaws but well worth a look for what it does.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?