“Asperger’s Are Us” rarely stretches to be funny or poignant or touching, and that makes this documentary all the more of each. There’s plenty of emotion in this story of four young men who sometimes have trouble expressing their feelings.
New York Times review by KEN JAWOROWSKINOV. 10, 2016
The film focuses on the sketch troupe of the title, comedians who are on the autism spectrum and have been performing in and around Boston for years after meeting at a summer camp for those with Asperger’s syndrome. Alex Lehmann, the film’s director, gently delves into their back stories and sits in on rehearsals.
“The best way to be funny is to always explain your jokes, right after you tell them,” says Ethan Finlan, one of the members. “You need to be like: Get it?” It’s tough to know if he’s kidding, and that kind of smart, perplexing humor pervades the routines. Jack Hanke, another member, will soon be leaving to study at Oxford, and in the film there’s some anxiety as the four prepare for what could be their final show together.
Their dismay at breaking up (they’ve since reunited) is sometimes aggravated by their conditions. Asperger’s can heighten frustrations, and New Michael Ingemi — a name he’s given himself, and he isn’t shy about correcting those who still use his birth name — occasionally has difficulty coping. His interactions with Noah Britton, the eldest member, are complex. Short interviews with the men’s parents, particularly New Mike’s mother and father, are honest and bittersweet.
Mr. Lehmann doesn’t encourage false drama or accentuate the triumph of their final show (he even catches sight of audience members who walked out, mid-performance). His understated approach is ideal for this film, and for these very funny men.
YouTube published by Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Film
From Duplass Brothers Productions and Director Alex Lehmann comes ASPERGER'S ARE US. In this coming of age documentary, four friends on the autism spectrum whom have bonded through humor and performed as the comedy troupe "Asperger's Are Us" will prepare for one final, ambitious show before going their separate ways.
Starring: Ethan Finlan, New Michael Ingemi, Noah Britton, Jack Hanke
Directed By: Alex Lehmann (Blue Jay)
Produced By: Chris Dowling, Sean Bradley
Exec. Produced By: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass
Associate Producer: Sydney Fleischmann
Co-Producers: Michael J. Urann, Omar J. Cruz Rubio
Original Score By: Crystal Grooms Mangano