EIFF Review: Yo, Tambien

BDC9C60E-ACBC-4761-9878-F6493C436B11.jpgYo, Tambien (Me, Too) is a Spanish movie about Daniel, a man with Down’s Syndrome, who’s just graduated from university, and got a job. For him, the next logical stage in his life is to find a wife and start a family. His eye is drawn towards his colleague, Laura, and they start a friendship which Daniel hopes will turn into something more.

The tone of the movie is very sweet and gentle, while still with the serious issues of the hopes, dreams and fears of someone with Down’s Syndrome. The title Me, Too is a reference to the fact Daniel wants not only to live as a functioning, working member of society but also to have the kind of love and affection he sees between both his brother and sister-in-law, and mother and father.

The relationship at the centre of this movie is beautifully played by both Lola Dueñas and Pablo Pineda who play the leads. The film absolutely hinges on the viewer buying into their friendship and the combination of great acting and writing allows us to do exactly that. My favourite moments of the film were when the two of them were just laughing together. The simple sense of warmth and affection between them in these moments allowing us to buy into the central premise of the film.

The movie also does a great job of showing us that, difficult as life can be for Daniel, the fact he has a loving family around him allows him to cope pretty well with the prejudices people level against him on a daily basis. Laura, on the other hand has lost touch with her family, and we soon learn that this lack of support means she finds it much more difficult when circumstances don’t go her way. As the movie progresses we soon see that their ability to see through outward appearances and treat each other as ‘normal’ is what they value so much in each other.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that a central theme of Yo, Tambien is that of sexuality. A subplot of the movie concerns two other young people with Down’s Syndrome falling in love and starting a relationship. The mother of one of them is appalled at this: concerned about the prospect of them taking the relationship ‘too far’. Daniel is keen to point out that people with Down’s Syndrome have exactly the same needs and desires as everyone else. Both in terms of the emotional and physical sides of a relationship.

Yo, Tambien reminds me why I love movies. Like all my favourite films, it challenges the viewer to consider their own preconceptions and prejudices. It takes a potentially tricky topic: that of the relationship between those with Down’s Syndrome and their own sexual identity, and deals with it in a warm, funny and insightful way.

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