The Road Within

TheRoadWithinSuggested by Brad Nelson • A young man with Tourettes, another with a germ phobia, and a bulimic girl opt for hitting the road instead of remaining at the clinic where they are receiving treatment for their maladies. A journey of poignant laughs and self-discocery ensue.
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One Response to The Road Within

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Fuck. Shit. Cunt. Please pass the r-rating. And yet this is not a re-make of the funny (and juvenile) South Park episode where Cartman learns he can say a lot of dirty words if he pretends to have Tourette Syndrome.

    And aside from the romantic notion that people acting upon their own whim will automatically heal and “self-actualize,” there is very little to criticize about this movie.

    Never do you walk the uncomfortable line of getting laughs from these people’s handicaps. This film is thoughtfully done and acted. You are pulled into these characters as they interact with each other and joke about their own maladies. Never is it treacly or maudlin. And yet by the end of the picture, you’ll strike a powerful empathy with these three yutes.

    Robert Sheehan plays the main character, Patrick, who suffers from Tourette’s. The actor and the script do a great job describing what that is like and humanizing it. The three main characters often engage in freakish behavior, but they are not freaks. They are aware of their maladies and aware that they are powerless to stop them, to stop either Patrick’s tics or Alex’s (Dev Patel) germ phobias which manifest themselves in myriad ways.

    The third character — the girl — is a bit less pitiable. Marie (Zoë Kravitz) is bulimic girl who just won’t eat. I have no idea if bulimia is on par with the either Tourette’s or germ-phobia in terms of being out of one’s volitional control. But she mixes in with these two other boys and in her own depressed way anchors the film as the straight man. If it were three highly-strung loons, if you will, it might be too much.

    Granted this movie isn’t for everyone. The language of Tourette’s pushes this to an r-rating. Other than that, this would be a great show for young adults if your desire was to increase their sympathy and understanding for those, through no fault of their own, who are stricken with a syndrome or disease.

    Never, unless you are of a cruel disposition, will you be laughing at these characters. You will be laughing with them as you see how their maladies effect their lives and as you hear their restive desire to transcend their limitations. Alex just wants to finish high school and then go on to college.

    Robert Patrick (of Terminator II fame) is powerful as Alex’s father, a man whose political career is inconvenienced by his son’s malady. Kyra Sedgwick plays Dr. Mia Rose who works at the institute that is caring for these three kids. She could have been easily turned into an over-sympathetic dullard. But the genius of this movie is that it does not borrow too heavily on sentimentality even as one’s sentiments are pulled this way and that. Both of these adults seem like real people and are not simply the playing out of typical movie stereotypes.

    All in all, I really liked this film. It’s currently streaming on Netflix.

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