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Mission to Lars (2012)

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Kate and Will Spicer's brother, Tom, has Fragile X Syndrome, the most common form of inherited learning disability. He is also a massive fan of Lars Ulrich from Metallica. They made a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kate Spicer ...
Herself (voice)
Tom Spicer ...
Himself
William Spicer ...
Himself (voice)
...
Herself
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Himself
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Kate and Will Spicer's brother, Tom, has Fragile X Syndrome, the most common form of inherited learning disability. He is also a massive fan of Lars Ulrich from Metallica. They made a promise to Tom that they would get him to meet Lars. Tom's dream is their promise. Together they went on a Mission to Lars. Written by Anonymous

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Insightful but not about the band - 77%
20 January 2015 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

Having been introduced to the band via their iconic 'black' album (which I'm listening to as I write) back in the early Nineties, Metallica have always been at the heaviest end of my musical tastes. Sadly, I don't indulge my inner head-banger as often as I'd like to - one of the pay-offs for being happily married, I guess - so this documentary intrigued me. I first became aware of it through the BBC Breakfast programme, weirdly given the subject matter, but this isn't simply one fans journey to met his idol. It is a touching tribute to the fan in question and the difficulties faced by those suffering from so-called 'invisible' illness. Mental health is taken for granted by so many and as someone with their own issues, I could take heart from the care and diligence of those pledged to assist society's most unfortunate.

Tom Spicer is a die-hard Metallica fan and especially of their drummer, Lars Ulrich. He dreams of being able to meet Lars and talks about him constantly. But Tom suffers from a condition called Fragile X syndrome which is a genetic condition akin to autism. Tom suffers from severe anxiety attacks and difficulty in social situations, reliant on precise planning and timing and intense interest in a particular subject - in Tom's case, Lars. Tom's older sister Kate and younger brother Will aspire to take Tom to the US to meet his hero but such a journey will provide a real challenge to someone in Tom's condition. Not only that but the journey also takes their toll on Kate & Will who realise that the attention and care they've given Tom over the years has diminished to the point where they are unsure they can supervise the increasingly reluctant Tom.

"Mission To Lars" will not be the backstage pass to Metallica's 2009 world tour some metal-heads might expect - in which case, may I recommend "Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster" or "Metallica: Through The Never". What "Mission To Lars" feels like is a home movie with an agenda. Tom is a fascinating individual and provides an enigmatic figure at the centre of the documentary while Kate & Will feel like two estranged siblings making up for lost time. I don't doubt that their intentions were noble but it just feels as though Tom's story is giving them a platform instead. I hope I'm wrong because their efforts are truly heroic and the moment when Lars himself appears is genuinely heartfelt. Dispelling the notion that he may be a diva-ish rock star, Lars comes across as a real person and one who genuinely is pleased to meet Tom. But the film mostly drags to the conclusion, featuring lots of shots of desert scrolling by as their RV rolls on to the next destination on the tour.

As a fan, I guess I wanted a bit more of their music on the soundtrack but "Mission To Lars" is an insightful look at a condition that is rarely covered in the media. It might not be the sweetness and light Kate and Will may have expected when the idea first formed in their minds but Tom is the true star, even making you laugh as he openly rejects those in front of him, oblivious to their reaction. And for those familiar with their tunes, the concert footage at the end will be enough to keep you engaged with the picture. They may be getting on a bit but 'tallica can still rock! As for "Mission To Lars", it's a small film that deserves a bigger audience if only for raising the profile of Fragile X Syndrome.


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