Posts Tagged ‘How to Dance in Ohio’

A group of socially awkward teenagers and adults learn ‘How to Dance in Ohio’ in Alexandra Shiva’s sweet new documentary

April 11, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 11, 2015

How to Dance in Ohio is a touching new documentary about a group of high-functioning autistic teenagers and young adults who are getting ready for a formal dance.

Director Alexandra Shiva spent about three months filming psychologist Emilio Amigo and his counselors, their clients and the clients’ families as they geared up for their party. She focuses on 16-year-old Marideth, who’s happiest sitting at home with her computer, and young 20-something friends Caroline and Jessica, who are struggling respectively with her first year at community college and her job at a bakery.

In many ways, Jessica is the heart of the movie. She talks with her parents and a social worker about becoming more independent, but at times, she’s keenly aware of her limitations: She wants to move out of her family’s home, but she’d prefer to have a roommate. After showing us several awkward moments at the bakery, Shiva follows Jessica into a tense meeting with the business’s owner. The young woman bursts into tears during the conversation; afterward, while eating lunch alone, Jessica wishes that her mother was there.

Later in the movie, Jessica’s face crumples when she learns that Tommy, the young man she’d hoped would be her date to the dance, has already asked another to go with him.

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