Autism in Love (dir. Matt Fuller, 2015) is a documentary that delves into the minds and hearts of autistic adults who are experiencing a sensitive chapter of their lives involving the feelings and emotions of romantic love for someone. There’s Lenny, a young, single man who lives with his mother while agonizing over the difficulty in being autistic and finding a steady dating relationship to be part of. Lindsey and Dave are already a couple grappling with the twists and turns of dating while living together with their own individual challenges and limitations and of autism. Stephen, who is a middle-aged “Rain Man” type of character, has to come to terms of the cessation of his wedding vows to his ailing wife of almost twenty years of marriage.
The title, Autism in Love, already gravitates to the curiosity of those who are wondering how this type of dynamic is even being possible whether they are familiar with the lives of high functioning adults with autism or not. I was amazed how Fuller brought rawness and awareness to this type of disability using the movie screen as a “fish bowl” for the audience to peer into without shattering the dignity of these fragile individuals.
During this year’s GPFF, Fuller’s film commanded the undivided attention from those who witnessed his masterpiece unfold inside a packed auditorium, instigating tears, laughter and sometimes, just silence. High- and low-functioning adults living with autism experience the joys and pain of being in love or wanting to be in love just like anyone else. I had the opportunity to see the visible and invisible signs of autism as an added burden to work around.