Directed by: Álvaro Pastor, Antonio Naharro | 103 minutes | drama | Actors: Lola Dueñas, Isabel García Lorca, Antonio Naharro, Pablo Pineda, Joaquín Perles, Teresa Arbolí, Consuelo Trujillo, Ramiro Alonso, Ana De los Riscos, Catalina Lladó, Lourdes Naharro, Ana Peregrina, Pedro Álvarez-Ossorio, Daniel Parejo, Susana Monje, Pepe Q
Daniel (Pablo Pineda) has recently graduated and will work at the municipal office in Seville. There he gets to know the capricious and dissolute Laura (Lola Dueñas), for whom he immediately falls in love. Well-known story? Not if you know that Daniel has Down syndrome! He has always been encouraged by his parents to develop intellectually. This makes him the first European man with an intellectual disability to complete a university degree and knows more about art, history and music than most “normal” people. Still, Daniel is not happy. He wants a girlfriend to start a relationship with. And he wants sex. Laura seems like the ideal candidate. Although she may seem a bit raunchy to others, Daniel is blinded by her. She is the woman of his dreams. Laura moves to Daniel for not judging her for her dissolute lifestyle and making her laugh. This way she forgets her own troubles for a while. But when Daniel admits to feeling more for her than friendship alone, Laura is in doubt. Should she continue with this…?
A romantic comedy about a man with an intellectual disability? The Spanish director duo Antonio Naharro and Alvaro Pastor thought it was high time that the love lives of people with Down syndrome were discussed and came up with the film “Yo, también” (“Me too”, 2009). They draw on their own experience (Naharro, who also plays a role in the film, has a sister with an intellectual disability) to present the story as honest and sincere as possible. There are various pitfalls lurking for a film like this, but the relatively inexperienced director duo knows how to avoid them all skillfully. This way, “Yo, también” remains credible from start to finish and the story does not make sense. People with Down syndrome are portrayed in a dignified way: they too have a need for love, affection and yes, sex too from a certain age. Because it is against Naharro and Pastor that these people are often overly protected from the outside world by family members (who, by the way, have the best for them) and are not left free to make their own choices, they have an extra storyline. fitted in around two young people in love with Down syndrome.
Naharro and Pastor owe a lot to the two protagonists of their film. Pablo Pineda is a remarkable figure. Although mentally disabled, he is smart and articulate and lives well-adjusted within the “normal” world. Pineda is a true phenomenon in Spanish-speaking countries, due to its remarkable knowledge and development. You tend to think that he is simply playing himself, but that is doing this endearing resident of Seville short. Sometimes it looks a bit forced (when he is crying, for example), but that has more to do with the fact that he has Down syndrome than that he does not know how to act. With his sharp humor and sympathetic appearance, he easily captures the audience. The experienced Lola Dueñas (‘Mar adentro’, 2002) is even better in her portrayal of a woman who seems to be wasting her life due to a traumatic event from the past, but is awakened just in time by her remarkable friendship with Daniel . She is visibly marked by life and in search of herself. Dueñas has already earned many awards and she was rightly honored for this role. She deserves all the credit for her guts to take on this role alone.
“Yo, también” was one of the big audience favorites at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) 2010. Not surprising, since protagonist Pablo Pineda quickly captures the audience with his disarming personality. However, he does much more with people than just endear them, he also knows how to stimulate them by displaying his self-confidence and making it clear that he wants nothing more than a ‘normal’ life, with ‘normal’ work and a ‘normal’ girlfriend on. his side. The (im) possibilities thereof are exposed in a razor-sharp manner in this film. “Yo, también” could have become a tear-jerk who would have exploited his special protagonist as a circus attraction, but fortunately Naharro and Pastor did not give in to cheap melodrama and kept their dignity, as well as that of Pineda. The end result is a remarkably sober, balanced and captivating drama with a smile and a tear. Rarely has a romantic comedy been so headstrong original!