Relative Madness

Relative Madness


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is a touching little family portrait, gentle in its depiction though less conventional in its subject. Ben is a hospital porter with Asperger's Syndrome, Louisa his daughter. Given the choice between moving in with Louisa's mother or having his daughter taken into care, Ben's choice has produced an unusual situation.

He seems a nice guy, minded to camaraderie, gleefully intoning the plight of his colleagues in a cheerful song. His daughter is at that age where it seems the only thing that matters is growing up, though there are still glimpses of the child she is. If nothing else, Ben's decision, the compromises involved, have afforded her that opportunity. She draws, plays games with her friends at school, plays "guess the track" with her mother and a Mötley Crüe CD.

That said, Vika Evdokimenko's film isn't as groundbreaking as it might seem. There are any number of adults with autistic spectrum conditions, any number of children whose familial arrangements have been influenced by the courts or social care or the fear thereof. Ben's conspiracy theories are not uncommon, and while he met his current girlfriend on a civil liberties march his fear of chemtrails is arrant nonsense. In practise he's quite a conventional chap, he has a job, a child he cares for deeply; perhaps it's unusual that he gets on so well with her, patiently explaining why Nikki Sixx may not be entirely worthy of emulation when she turns 16, but in fairness the family's oddity depends entirely on perspective. In comparison to Quadrangle, say, it's not that unusual an arrangement. As it stands, this is a pleasant little film, but neither revolutionary nor as revealing as it thinks it is.

Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2010
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A documentary portrait of an unconventional family.
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Read more Relative Madness reviews:

Jennie Kermode ***

Director: Vika Evdokimenko

Year: 2009

Runtime: 16 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2010

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