On the one hand, Scott — who is also a high-functioning sufferer of autism — is correct. Dina has recently found a man, moved in with him, organised a wedding and headed off on a honeymoon with the prospect of a new shared life stretching ahead of her.
Dina makes us live through these moments with her, as she works through all the natural anxieties and insecurities that accompany these milestones, like millions around the world.
She’s what you wish a lot of rom-com protagonists would be like and, in fact, what a lot of people who make rom-coms wish their protagonists could be like.
It seems the directorial duo Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini have recognised this aspect of Dina's iridescent character. Avoiding an experimental style to represent these ‘different’ people or shaky fly-on-the-wall camerawork, they have opted for a style as unobtrusive and observational as a box office classic.
At points, it is easy to forget you're watching a documentary.
The scene where Dina gifts Scott a copy of The Joy of Sex and launches fearlessly into a discussion of her sexual desires and Scott’s lack of passion for her could have dropped out of a Woody Allen film. This conversation also confirms our impression of Dina: she has made vulnerability her strength; her openness is her armour.
But this armour has been forged in the fire.
The details of what she has had to fight through emerge slowly throughout the course of the film. She lost her first husband of eleven years to cancer and survived near-fatal violence at the hands of her previous boyfriend.
While watching an innocuous sunset, we listen to a recording of the 911 call that most likely saved Dina’s life. It’s a moving moment and it reminds you that this film is, in fact, a documentary and that there are real and fragile lives at play.
Dina is a slow-burner but, once finished, it enlightens its audience not only about those who live with developmental disabilities but also about the intimate connections we form and those that form us.
|What||Dina film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
20 Oct 17 – 12 Apr 19, Times Vary
|Price||£ determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more information|