“At age 52, Philly began to go to school.”
Filmmaker Ira Wohl helps his aging aunt and uncle find a secure home for their intellectually disabled 52-year-old son, Philly.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Grown Children
- Intellectually Disabled
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “glowing documentary” — full of “many moving scenes” — is unique in that its director “openly influences the lives of the people he’s filming”. Due to Wohl’s concerns that “Philly will be defenseless if his elderly parents die, Wohl convinces them to allow Philly to take giant strides toward self-sufficiency” — and “the excitement that he feels as he progressively achieves independence is contagious.” As Peary notes, “the intimacy Wohl achieves is remarkable — we become extremely fond of Philly, but we also become sensitive toward his mother and (dying) father, who, when they don’t worry, are happy about their son’s accomplishments, yet understandably feel self-pity because the boy needs them less and less.” Wohl followed this film nearly twenty years later with a sequel, Best Man (1997), which is also of interest, though not nearly as poignant.
- Wohl’s touching concern and love for his intellectually disabled cousin
- Watching Philly go to school for the first time
- Philly and Zero Mostel singing a backstage version of “If I Were a Rich Man” together
Yes. This Oscar-winning documentary should be seen by all film fanatics.