“I’m afraid of doing something wrong, do ya know what I mean?”
Dina Bruno is 49, on the autism spectrum and about to get married for the second time. Scott Levin, her husband-to-be, is also on the autism spectrum has never been married before and is rather worried about his inexperience compared to his future bride, a woman who at one point says matter-of-factly to him ‘I’ve been around.’ What follows is a 101 minute long documentary about the build-up to the wedding, the wedding and a few days into their marriage.
We follow Dina and Scott as they negotiate the issues any newly engaged couple go through, things just happen to be that bit more complicated due to their learning needs. The interactions between the pair possess an intimate innocence rarely seen upon the screen, as least not since last year’s Life, Animated (click here for my review). Both documentaries feature individuals with autism at the forefront and both carefully showcase their respective figures love lives. One of the earlier films sweetest moments is when 20-something Owen is carefully asked by his brother about what people kiss with aside from their lips, to which Owen asks with the utmost innocence and enthusiasm ‘Their feelings!’ Similar exchanges occur here between Dina and Scott, as they try to share with each other how they are feeling. The most memorable has to be when Dina gifts Scott with a guide to sex – his naivety and uncertainty at how to handle receiving it is joyfully awkward to watch.
Not only are things complicated by their both having autism, Dina has had a life full of much trauma and heartbreak. It’s not initially apparent and it’s hard to believe considering she’s a sweet and bubbly extrovert we quickly grow to love. Although it’s clear early on that ‘something’ occurred that forced Dina to place a degree of barrier between her and the rest of the world, it’s hard to fully process what these events were. Although these incidents are alluded to during the film, but it’s towards the end we are played the 991 call made during the most horrific incident. It’s both heartbreaking yet somewhat heart-filling, whilst truly traumatic to listen to it reinforces just how perfect Scott is for Dina, to see a how happy Dina is now and how much she appreciates Scott’s tender love.
Accompanied by a beautiful score, including one of the greatest uses yet of Yazoo’s Only You, we get to share in the experience of two people being in love. It’s not a feelgood documentary, nor is it a triumph over adversity. It’s a shared character portrait that is both bittersweet and yet truly uplifting – it’s about love and all the emotions that come with it.