Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Duplass Brothers continue to make Netflix worth it, this time by adding the documentary "Asperger's are us" to the library.

I Really Liked It
My wife and I like documentaries; we watch them about as often as we do a regular movie.

To me documentaries are like old fashioned storytelling, there's nothing fake about them (I am of course choosing to ignore the whole "having the camera and crew there changes things so that the people aren't behaving as they normally would were the cameras not there" (which is even mentioned at one point during this show how New Michael is okay with the camera crew filming him at his house because then his parents will leave him alone).)

So a documentary shows the real world, real life, real people.

My children, the girl is 11 and the boy is 8, have in the past been in the room during a documentary if it was okay to watch with them possibly entering the room. Last night, while watching Asperger's Are Us was the first time they came into the room, asked what we were watching - I explained the difference between documentary and what they knew as a "movie" - and they both sat down and started to watch it with us. When there was just around 30 minutes left in the show my daughter said to me: "I like this." and my son who usually agrees with his big sister on everything added his two cents with: "Yeah."

Asperger's Are Us follows a group of friends who share the same condition: Asperger's. To deal with their lives and the sort of obstacles that life throws at them, they use humor, and so they created a comedy troupe. The documentary follows them leading up to their final show as they are separating to go to colleges and generally continue life away from family and friends and now on their own.

The movie doesn't really concern itself with the stress or anxiety of moving into the college part of life, instead it centers on the boys and their preparation for the final show and the stress and anxiety of working on creating something with other each other.

The whole documentary was well done and interesting and entertaining, but for me the stand out was New Micheal's father and the insecurities he feels in regards to his son. His father is only shown for a few brief moments through out the documentary but the first time he is shown he talks about wishing he was smarter so he could talk to his son and relate to him, and he talks about how he worked a lot and had to sacrifice time with his children because of that and how he wished he'd had more time with them as they grew up.

I may be a sucker - or I looked out the window at the sun right then - but I got teary eyed hearing him talk. My son is only 8 so I don't have any issues with him other than him being picky about what he eats and arguing with me about having to brush his teeth and take a bath every night, but I can imagine what it must feel like to have him grow up and suddenly he's a stranger.

His father then later talks about how New Michael doesn't like being hugged or even patted on the back, and his father says that he likes hugging him and rubbing his back, stuff like that, but his son doesn't like it.

I have to stop looking into the sun during this documentary.

When I get home from work I make it a point to find both my kids and give them a hug, or a kiss or even just rub their back for a second - just touch them in some way, and to not have that would be painful, or to just know that they don't like it would be painful. I'm sure I'd power on with life - but Jesus that seems so utterly painful to lose that, and I see a guy like New Michael's father deal with it and I would pray that I would handle it as well as his father seems to.

At the end there's a point where the two are talking and it just seems that the father wants nothing more to grab his son and hold him and hug him, he seems so proud of his son and New Michael just seems so shy around his dad that it's almost like he knows what his father wants and he's even maybe expecting it but his father doesn't know if this is a time when it's okay to hug his son or if it's a moment that only he's feeling and not his son. It's a painful moment, one that nearly caused me to yell at the screen to hug each other already - but before I could the moment was gone. It would have been really sad were it not for the fact that they had probably had moments like that for years now and they seemed to understand - without actually touching - the father communicated to his son how proud he was and New Michael got it and understood.

New Michael's father just seemed like a cool guy, like a soldier who'd been over seas and returned all cool and mellow but you know the guy had seen some shit and it made him into a cool and quiet guy who learned to deal with things instead of reacting to them.

Part of me wanted more time spent with New Michael and his dad but at the same time I didn't want to know more; his dad was like a celebrity who I liked but was afraid that if I knew more about him or they showed more he might do something that would change my image of him so what little I saw of him was just the right amount.

After wards we talked with the kids about the condition, and I even got on the computer and read some stuff about it to them. Since they missed the beginning of documentary they asked if they could watch it again and I said later - "but not tonight, besides it's time for a bath." They immediately started arguing and all I could do was look at them and truly appreciate them and what I have with them, and I know as they grow up it'll change shape and at times be tested more than I ever thought possible, but in the end I will always have them when they were young and loved me and their mom without question, and that may help us deal with the sort of things to come later in life.