Originally posted in Feb 2014, part of The Road’s social theme.
Monica and David, winner of several documentary film awards including Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival. Have you heard of it?
The film follows Monica and David, both of whom have Down syndrome, from just before their wedding to just after their one year anniversary. The documentary includes real time video of their day to day lives as well as interviews with Monica, David, and people from their families.
Monica’s mother is adoring and perhaps over-protective.
In fact, it’s shocking she allowed this movie to be made because she carries a lot of fear about the world. Which of course, conflicts with her desire to enable Monica to live a full life and explore her potential. (Sound familiar anyone?) Monica’s mother admits she has built her life around her daughter, and her daughter’s safety and happiness is her top priority. There are worse ambitions.
I’m overprotective of Monica, too. I’m glad her family has the means to protect her and care for her new husband as well. Neither of the couple can cook, admittedly. Nor are they allowed to go down to the beach to walk by themselves. They work when they can. They have friends over. They help around the house.
You know what I loved? I loved that there was closed-captioning for those of us who don’t speak Monica and David, but within their home it was a language everyone knew. I remember when Marcus was little and had friends over or in the carpool to-from school, he would banter with his
friends. He spoke Marcus and they spoke Michael/Joey/etc. We parents didn’t always understand, but they did. They understood each other. I wish Marcus could walk around with closed captioning. Not for me, I speak the language, but for everyone else. Folks often give the impression, “If I can’t understand you, you have nothing to say.” I hate that. Closed captioning. Or maybe Douglas Adams’ babel fish. That would be the best. But I digress…
So the question is, what did everyone else get from the story of Monica & David? Did the closed captioning allow people’s minds to open? Did mother’s sharing their hopes and fears allow people’s hearts to open?
Did parents with young children with Down syndrome feel a burst of hope or a dose of dread at these outcomes, at this story of a life?
Regardless, I’m glad Alexandra Codina told this story the way she did. The clips were honest. There weren’t contrived emotions from contrived moments. *Advocate to the reasonable* it’s all we can really do, and I feel she did it well. Have you seen Monica & David? It’s on Netflix now and also available on DVD. Let me know what you think.
- Mardra, Grown Ups & Downs