keeping up with dina

Dina is a really, really great movie about the essence of marriage:

Dina is a middle-aged autistic lady on disability. Scott is a middle-aged autistic Walmart greeter. Neither of them have the social skills to be anything but sincere, which is why they’re such a cute couple.

Dina’s been through some Bad Shit and been married before. Scott’s never lived on his own until moving in with Dina, and he’s never had sex. Scared shitless of doing The Wrong Thing. Naturally, she takes the hesitancy as rejection and gets hurt by it. She puts effort into her womanly charms and he’s just kinda flat and oblivious. So we see of the issues described in awful books like The Other Half of Asperger syndrome (reviewed here). It’s a thing that happens, the autistic person who’s weird about touch.

The movie does a great job of showing the tragedy of the situation, where both of them explain that their problems come from getting rejected for their disabilities their whole lives. Now they’re hurting people the people they love the most as a consequence, and can’t really help it and have to work through it together slowly and with much discomfort. But they’re genuinely there for each other emotionally. The movie doesn’t try to make it seem hopeless.

The box of the DVD calls it a “romantic comedy”, but it’s darker than it seems like it’s going to be from the trailer. The trailer shows them sitting on a bench, with Scott saying how much he’s in awe that Dina’s still standing after her fucked up life.

SPOILER: Right after that, still with the bench in the shot, we hear the audio of the 911 call when her first husband stabbed her “7 or 8 times” for cheating on him. She doesn’t lose consciousness or anything. She’s crying out for her parents. She’s saying she’s sorry. She’s asking if she’s going to die. The call goes on and on, with the operator asking questions to get details about where she’s stabbed, where the knife is, etc. It finally ends when the cops show up and tackle him.

She’s into Kardashian reality shows, so it’s awesome that the movie is basically her own life, shot in a similar way. Cameras just follow Dina and Scott around. There’s no narration or anything.

He’s never been to the beach, so she wants to take him, but she was always driven before. There’s a lot of stress and uncertainty around getting there by bus, and Scott starts to melt down along the way. They have magical couple moments when they get there.

Meanwhile, in depictions of autism that normal people might actually see: