Another film that I was delaying watching as is about a man with Down’s Syndrome and imagined that film was going to be depressing. You have no idea HOW wrong I was as film is truly fantastic with great actor’s performances and a story that will melt your heart, make you understand more people with the syndrome and after watching you will feel very uplifted.
This multiple honored film tells the simple story of an university educated man that falls in love and everything (plus everyone) is against him being corresponded. Thirty-four-years-old Daniel (Pablo Pineda) recently obtained his university degree and finds his first work at the Disability Services in Seville where he notices troubled Laura (Lola Dueñas) and starts to flirt with her. But Daniel has Down’s Syndrome and people, including Laura, treat him as if he was a kid (to put it mildly soft). Slowly Laura and Daniel become friends, but Daniel wants more than friendship and everyone, including his parents, tells him not to fall for a ‘normal’ woman, to fall for a woman that also has the syndrome. But Daniel doesn’t give up and you have to watch the rest of the great (so human) story to learn what happens.
Evidently film is an exploration about being human and how a syndrome that creates particular and very visible/recognizable face and body characteristics in people, has many misconceptions as they're humans with intelligence (when developed) and needs like companionship, love, being happy, etc. But also is about “normal” people reactions toward a person with the syndrome and believe me that film is not a critique but a recount of how people react and most of all, is a very good exploration about what “normal” and normalcy are.
Most impressive is Pablo Pineda’s performance as Daniel, who actually is playing a fictionalized version of himself as he is the first student with Down syndrome in Europe to obtain a university degree in real life. But he needed an actress that was as outstanding as him and Lola Dueñas gives a very impressive performance as the troubled woman with a dark past that makes her today behave as if nothing in this world is important to her. Truly amazing performances by these two actors.
Film as film is acceptable but have to recognize the great work that directors and co screenwriters, Antonio Naharro and Álvaro Pastor, did to extract such great performance from their two main actors and to create a very good screenplay with a not easy to tell story.
I highly recommend this film to audiences that enjoy strong performances with great, yet difficult, stories told in the most “normal” and refreshing way. As we know both lead actors got top acting awards at 2009 San Sebastian fest, Lola Dueñas got a Goya Award for Best Actress, film was in competition at 2010 Sundance, collected other honors in fests like Rotterdam as well as in other Spaniard fests and awards.
Watch trailer @MOC