"Autism in Love follows the story of four adults with autism spectrum disorders as they search for and manage romantic relationships."- IMDb
As usual, IMDb allows absolutely no imagery to what this debut film by Matt Fuller actually is. Not only does Fuller travel America to find four individuals with varying degrees of autism chasing love, but he delves into far, far more.
To begin, not just the spectrum of autism is under the microscope, but relationships in general. The three relationships portrayed in the film follow the pursuit of love, the beginning of a life together and the end of a marriage.
Healthy relationships are sometimes and enigma that all people strive to achieve. And struggles are a large part of them. Growth, separation, heartbreak and loneliness make up a large part of every person's life, but have you thought about how this affects someone on the autism spectrum? This is a large part of why Matthew Fuller and Carolina Groppa decided to make this film.
The individuals in this film represent some areas on the spectrum. Lenny, Lindsay and Dave are very high functioning. They are able to express themselves and understand how they fit into life. Stephen is mostly unable to express his emotions. He is uncomfortable making eye contact. However, he understand when to use his expressions and tries quite hard.
It is surprising hearing the definition of love from each of these individuals. Lenny is lonely and hates himself for having autism. He does not want to be different and he wants someone to love. But he doesn't feel he deserves an independent woman. He thinks he needs someone "below" him. Yet he understands that sexual activities without fulfillment denotes that you are not in love.
Lindsay and Dave have been together eight years and are just starting to talk about making a commitment to each other. They both realized they have grown together, that they are different people and yet are willing to stick by each other through good and bad times.
Stephen has been married for twenty years. His wife has been battling cancer for three years. He understands that she is sick, but he insists she will not die. He expresses that he loves her and misses her, but there isn't any physical contact nor loving conversation. However, his wife knows he loves her by how he looks at her.
In Matthew Fuller's own words, he believes a film has done its job when the audience has laughed, cried, grown and learned something. When an individual steps away from a film with a new outlook on a topic they otherwise knew little about, he has done his job. And I certainly ran that gambit while enjoying this journey.
Everyone struggles in life. Every teenager has been to high school and wanted so badly to fit in that they would have done anything. Every person who has experienced a relationship has wondered what the other person was thinking, how the future will unfold and where the relationship will head. Everyone deals with death. However, individuals with autism deal with these things all day, every day. It doesn't end. They must always struggle with self-doubt, insecurity and depression. I am so very moved by this film that I recommend it to anyone who is willing to learn something new.