In November 2004 Bill and Wendy Ainscow took an overdose of sleeping pills and waded into the warm Atlantic ocean off Tenerife to commit suicide. Wendy Ainscow survived but tragically Bill died. The couple's bizarre suicide pact was the culmination of years of trying to cope with and get state help for their daughter Lisa, who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome. Written by
Not about Asperger's, not easy to watch, but essential viewing.
Whilst the film 'Rainman' and Mark Haddon's book are both primarily works of fiction, this film is a dramatisation of a true story that, at the time of writing, is still going on.
The fact that psychiatrists and social workers seemed flummoxed is the centre of this tragic tale. Without a proper diagnosis - a label - Lisa and her family receive little help. This is not about Asperger's. The medical teams decided it was not 'just' Asperger's, but they couldn't decide what it was and this condemned the family to the life they had and which the film tried to portray.
Rebekah Staton was very good as Lisa. If she seemed detestable then that is the point. Difficult to love her, but still unconditionally loved by her mother in the only way she knew how. Difficult for her to show love, but she did in her own way by demonstrating an overpowering need for her mother to be around, to 'look after her' and not to 'spoil her day'.
It's not an easy film to watch. Life is not easy sometimes. I thought it was well done. I don't like 'wobblevision' but its use when Lisa was being sectioned highlighted her panic, fear and confusion. The stark quality of the film was enhanced by the brave decision of the producers not to have incidental music, so well done to them! I don't think the point of the film was to help anyone associated with Asperger's. If there was a point in showing this story at all, maybe it was that we can't help those we can't label and that we should open our minds to understanding people when they are in distress, for whatever reason and however unpalatable.
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