Most of my entries for this Autism in Film series for Autism Acceptance Month have mostly been about fictional representations of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in movies. This time around, let’s shift gears and take a peek at a documentary that is also quite special to me- “Asperger’s Are Us”.
“Asperger’s Are Us” was released in 2016, and is also available to stream on Netflix. It was directed by Alex Lehman and was produced by Jay and Mark Duplass.
The documentary follows the members of the comedy group “Asperger’s Are Us”, Noah Britton, New Michael Ingemi, Jack Hanke, and Ethan Finlan, as they prepared for what they thought would be their last every show. Thankfully, the group, which is the first comedy group comprised of individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, did reunite and performed again after that short hiatus until early this year. They have since announced their disbandment earlier this year.
As mentioned earlier, this documentary is pretty special to me on a very personal level. For a long time, I have avoided watching movies and documentaries that deal with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. At that point in time, I don’t think I was ready yet, and I wasn’t sure how I’d personally react to fictionalized portrayals of autism, and I wasn’t sure about documentaries since I found them too over dramatized and too touchy feely. So, one day, sometime last year, I thought I’d give “Asperger’s Are Us” a go as it was on Netflix and because it had an interesting subject material. I am so glad that I ended up watching it as it allowed me to be okay with watching other movies that do have portrayals of autistic characters.
One of the things that I loved about this documentary was that it was genuine, raw, unfiltered, not overly dramatic or too inspirational, and that it celebrated their talents more than their diagnosis.
At the same time, I thought that they were extremely lucky to have found each other, and I started to open up about the idea of meeting others who are on the spectrum like me.
I was also able to relate to them a lot, as I saw that they had some physical mannerisms that I also had, and I could also relate a lot to Ethan’s worrying about things.
I loved how supportive their families are of the boys, and I particularly loved the story of New Michael’s relationship with his father.
I also enjoyed seeing how even though they each have their own quirks and mannerisms and even if they do get on each others nerves from time to time, these four are true and good friends to each other.
“Asperger’s Are Us” celebrates friendships, family and their special talent of making others laugh with their performances. It is a genuine, no holds barred look at a group of four friends with Asperger’s and their families, and is definitely a must watch for Autism Acceptance Month, in my books.
Have you ever seen this documentary or have seen any of their shows? What did you think of it? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Image Source: Official Asperger’s Are Us Documentary Facebook Page