39 POUNDS OF LOVE is the heartwarming story of Ami Ankilewitz, an American-born Israeli who at the age of 1 was diagnosed with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy that renders him immobile, except for one finger, which he uses to work as a 3D animator. His doctor predicated he'd die before the age of six. Over thirty years have passed and Ami, weighing only 39 pounds, still survives and "loves life", he is considered one of the world's greatest medical miracles. The film follows a riveting cross-country journey that Ami took with friends across the USA to look for the doctor who thought he wouldn't survive. Written by
Dani Menkin first saw Ami in a Tel Aviv bar, and was instantly drawn to him. Arranging to meet Ami at his home some days later, Dani began a friendship with Ami that would eventually lead to making the film. See more »
When you see the plot summary for "39 Pounds of Love," you quickly make up your mind that it's sure to be A. uncomfortable, B. a "freak show," C. a tear-jerker, D. something maudlin, and E. a film to avoid. Those elements are all there, except for the last one. It's tough-to-watch, freakish, occasionally mushy, but it is also a worthwhile movie, one that will stay with you for a long time.
Dani Menkin's documentary is about Texas-born Israeli-Mexican Ami Ankilewitz, who was given six years to live at birth because of muscular dystrophy, which went on quickly to ravage his body while a toddler. At 34, weighing 39 pounds, and able to move only one finger (which he uses to create animated films), Ankilewitz embarks on a voyage across the US to face the doctor, who made that early diagnosis.
Part real-time footage, part recreation (not always successful, especially in the final sequence, with the elderly Cuban doctor looking uncomfortable with the recreation of their confrontation), "39 Pounds" somehow manages to go beyond being a documentary with a message. Ankilewitz's aspiration to "normal love" will resonate with anyone ever involved in a hopeless affair, and the film maintains its integrity by telling the truth.
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