39 Pounds of Love

While this movie was made by Israelis, it nonetheless manages to epitomize everything I hate about American documentary filmmaking. It’s the story of a courageous and heroic man who courageously and heroically got muscular dystrophy and courageously and heroically survived to be middle-aged in spite of courageously and heroically being paralyzed from the neck down. In a desperate effort to give the film a plot, 39-pound Ami Ankilewitz goes to America to try to find the doctor who told his mother that he wouldn’t live past age 6. Why? I don’t know. It seems like he wants to tell the doctor off, but when he confronts this 86-year-old retired physician, the whole thing is just stupidly uncomfortable. Ami acts like he has some great wisdom to impart, but really, WTF? Why are you harassing some ancient doctor who only gave the diagnosis that he thought was correct? The middle of the movie is a self-indulgent spin through Ami’s awful computer-animated cartoons about birds in love, a pointless van ride around America and a sort of interesting bit about Ami’s love for, and then rejection of, his gorgeous young caretaker. I guess if you want to be uplifted by a 40 kiloton artificial-uplifting machine, you could do worse than watching 39 Pounds of Love as it desperately pre-nominates itself for an Oscar.

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