'œIt's tough to make a vigorous movie about someone who can barely move,' said Jeannette Catsoulis in The New York Times. But documentarians Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan have done just that with their portrait of a man diagnosed with ALS, the condition best known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Ascher and Jordan followed Stephen Heywood for five years after he was first diagnosed, at age 29—in 87 minutes of film, Heywood wastes away. ALS is an 'œorphan disease'—a condition so rare that pharmaceutical companies have no financial incentive to develop treatments. Stephen's brother Jamie becomes obsessed with the idea of finding a cure, creating a foundation that he helms so single-mindedly that his marriage falls apart. ALS is a nightmare, said Scott Brown in Entertainment Weekly. It 'œturns the human body into its own sarcophagus as the quick and unafflicted mind flutters wildly inside.' That fate makes these subjects' chin-up attitudes both inspiring and heartbreaking. How can Stephen be so optimistic? How can Jamie be so blind? There are some light moments, but most are almost oppressively emotional, said Jan Stuart in Newsday. Stephen's baby is learning to crawl just as he is beginning to succumb to paralysis. It's 'œone of those crashing life ironies you couldn't possibly script.'
Rating: Not Rated
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