Monday, March 18, 2019

SXSW with Abe: Come As You Are

I’m excited to be attending the film festival at South by Southwest for the second time, and I’ll be posting reviews throughout the week as I see as many movies as possible!

Come As You Are
Directed by Richard Wong
Narrative Spotlight

Everyone should be able to have an equal shot at great experiences in life. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case due to ability, be it financial, intellectual, or physical. While there are laws that help to make access available to those with disabilities, they can’t account for every factor that goes into how possible it actually is for a person to be able to do something. Those who care for and assist those who are unable to participate in certain things may feel they know what’s best for them, in some cases favoring the simpler, safer route over the riskier, more experimental one.

Scotty (Grant Rosenmeyer) is a foul-mouthed quadriplegic twenty-four-year-old who lives with his mother (Janeane Garofalo). When he learns of a specialty brothel called Come As You Are in Montreal that caters specifically to people with disabilities, he enlists wheelchair-bound Matt (Hayden Szeto) and blind Mo (Ravi Patel) to sneak away from their overprotective parents on a road trip up north with a no-nonsense van driver and nurse (Gabourey Sidibe). The four personalities clash considerably in tight quarters, but their hijinks ultimately help them learn about each other as they head out on adventure unlike any of them have ever had.

This is, most of all, a fun movie. It’s great to see these characters embracing their identities and, particularly in Scotty’s case, admitting that, while this isn’t how he’d first like to experience sex, he’s realized that he doesn’t have a better option. Typical road movie obstacles are enhanced here by the circumstances and attitudes of the people involved, with some truly hilarious and heartwarming scenes thrown in as the group tries to evade their parents in their pursuit of this northern destination.

This film is adapted from the Belgian film “Hasta la Vista,” which itself is based on a true story. The actors involved help to make this feel like a truly authentic and exciting journey. Rosenmeyer injects more than a little pent-up energy into Scotty, making him feel three-dimensional as his physical state leads to a general negativity. Szeto is more subdued, and along with Patel and Sidibe, contributes superbly to a sweet ensemble. Characters like this don’t often get this kind of spotlight, and it’s affirming to see this story brought to life on the big screen in an endearing and entertaining way.


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