For years, retarded people have been cinematically ghettoized in
retarded-people-falling-in-love movies. Engaging in slobbery, uplifting
kisses, working out their problems with slobbery, uplifting obstinacy,
stars of these films function as
inspirational Hallmark slogans come to life. Remember Shaun Cassidy and
Linda Purl in Like Normal People? Or Mel Gibson in Tim?
Joining their ranks recently are Juliette Lewis
and Giovanni Ribisi, stars of The Other Sister, the latest
dope opera to penetrate the hazy obtuseness of our three-digit IQs and
remind us of the simple verities we're just too damned "intelligent" to
It's as if the progress made in Slingblade and There's
About Mary, films in which retarded people are allowed to be
without having to fall in love, had never been produced at all. Really,
don't they deserve a better fate than active-ingredient status in the
emotional snake oil dispensed by condescending Tinseltown smarmacists
Garry Marshall? At turns highly expressive or broodingly, beguilingly
distant, the developmentally disabled are natural screen presences. In
more just world, they would appear in a variety of movie genres - and not
just as comic relief or crosses to bear but as stars.
Next ... Large mutant aliens - not as tough as you'd think.