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Movie review: 'Me Too'

'Me Too' is a sweet coming-of-age story

November 26, 2010|By Kevin Thomas

Writers-directors Álvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro's beguiling "Me Too" is a coming-of-age story with a difference: Its hero has Down syndrome — and so does the actor who plays him. Pablo Pineda's Daniel is a university graduate who has just landed a job in a social services agency in Seville, where he quickly forms a friendship with a coworker, Laura (Lola Dueñas). Outgoing, free-spirited, a little edgy and sporting a bad bleach job, Laura quickly warms to the thoughtful, good-natured Daniel. Laura has an aura of having experienced a lot yet radiates vulnerability beneath a confident façade.

Early on, we get the sense that Laura has knocked around just enough that she can truly appreciate Daniel, who is stocky, pleasant-looking, sensitive and highly intelligent; indeed, his Down syndrome seems to surface only in that he cries easily — but actually, not that often. Is it any wonder that he wants to live a fulfilled life? Yet, he is advised to look for love only among women with his condition, mild as it seems. Laura seems capable of thinking outside the box; perhaps she can reciprocate Daniel's growing love for her. (Note: The film is not as predictable as it may sound.)

Pineda is an utterly natural actor, and his Daniel connects with "normal" people the way Temple Grandin can reach beyond her autism to enlighten the public about her condition, give comfort to parents of autistic children and sustain a remarkable career in academia and animal husbandry. Pastor and Naharro have written a great part for Dueñas and direct her with great care. In fact, her delicately nuanced portrayal is crucial to why this lovely film works so well. Paralleling Daniel and Laura's story is that of a young Down syndrome couple, who face obstacles in expressing their love for one another.

"Me Too." No MPAA rating. In Spanish with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.

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