Here We Are Review
Israeli filmmaker Nir Bergman's gorgeous two-hander tells a father-son story with a twist. It's a charming, multi-faceted view of the impact of autism on relationships between parents and their children in positive and negative ways. It may not completely make a splash in cinema, but, by tackling the subject with compassion and understanding the film is a well-constructed account of a relationship that is told without sentimentality, and builds up into a powerful final act.
The story, drawn without explicit exposition, focuses on father Aharon (Shai Avivi) and his son, who is just turning 18 years old Uri (Noah Imber). Aharon is separated from his the wife Tamara (Smadi Wolfman), has resigned his lucrative job as a graphic artist to be a full-time caregiver for Uri who is diagnosed as having autism (it is not explicitly pointed out). Uri's daily life is characterized by routines that are unbreakable: viewing Charlie Chaplin on a portable DVD player, eating only pasta ; and never crossing the lines in the street. The tension arises when Tamara realizing that eventually Uri is going to have to take care for himself, puts Uri in an assisted living facility. While Uri is frightened and hesitant to move, it's Aharon who is unable to approve the move . He is convinced that he is the best person to care for their son in his own home, the two leave for the streets.
It's through the acting that the film captivates you.
This road , well mostly train journey isn't heightened by laughter yuks or awkward father-son moments. With inspiration from her family screenwriter Dana Idisis crafts an understated connection, observing with keenness the challenges of managing an autistic child, whether it's through the innovative strategies used to help manage the situation or the necessity to remain calm when taxi drivers make Rain Man-like assumptions or the way that passers-by react when Uri suffers a full-on wailing and screaming outrage on a train platform.
Bergman's style of filmmaking is simple and observational. However, it's the acting that the film captivates you. Imber takes on Uri for her full-time existence as a person, not just a person who is disabled, and Avivi is fantastic as a compassionate, loving father who begins to realize the limitations of his affection. If it's his subdued but never-ending state of alertness — the panic that comes with an incident where Uri goes missing is tangible — or his quiet delight in his son's laughter at City Lights, he gives the audience Here We Are heart and soul.