A documentary about a loved-up couple, both of whom are on the autism spectrum, walks a tightrope. If the film drops into sentimentality, it gives rise to claims of condescension. If it stays within cautious boundaries, there would be fair accusations of treating the subject matter as aberrant. It’s a credit to Sickes and Santini that this film avoids those pitfalls.
In this surprisingly well shot and made documentary, Sickles and Santini follow the highly watchable Dina, as she prepares for her wedding to the adorable Scott. Poignancy comes from observing normal everyday moments with nuance and care; the endless bus rides, the group karaoke at parties, and foot rubs inspired by Sex and the City endear us to our two protagonists.
These moments could be treated as “kooky” or “unique” or “odd” as a means of justifying the documentary about these two. That’s not Sickles and Santini’s game though, as their goal of shining a light on a different tale of love comes through. It never feels like Scott and Dina are being exploited for our entertainment.
There are a few moments where one wonders why the camera is there, such as at the couple’s honeymoon bath, and the deep talk about the joys and details of sex – but these are fleeting concerns. Plus, the lovey-dovey moments – while plentiful and welcome – are thankfully counterbalanced throughout. In particular, one harrowing section involving a 911 call over the top of serene visuals solidifies and strengthens your endearment and affection for Dina and Scott – proving humanity and love come in all shapes and sizes.
Dina and Scott are a match made in heaven. The beauty of this love-propelled documentary is the honest, non-exploitative nature in which Santini and Sickles capture it. Dina is a balm of comfort in these trying times.
CAST: Dina Buno, Scott Levin
DIRECTORS: Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles
SYNOPSIS: An eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door greeter navigate their evolving relationship in this unconventional love story.