Posted on 12/06/09 04:29 AM
I frequently enjoy choosing a movie at random to watch, about which I know nothing. Once in a while I?m very happily surprised and the movie will stay in my head for days. Such was the case with this Dutch film, Ben X.
Ben is a young man in his late teens who has Asperger?s Syndrome, a mild form of autism that prevents him from feeling or processing emotions. He doesn?t understand emotions or non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions or the body language of others. He is highly intelligent, but doesn?t understand common colloquialisms, as he takes them literally.
It won?t surprise you then, when I tell you that Ben is the object of much bullying, harassment and humiliation from his peers at school, who have no understanding about who Ben really is. Even Ben?s own family can?t understand him, no matter how much they want to.
Ben?s only respite from the harsh real world is his time spent playing the online role-playing game, Archlord, at which he excels, and now plays with only one other person--someone whom he?s never met in real life. While he plays, he can be the man he wishes he could be. His online friend treats him as an equal, which no one in the real world does. Ben frequently finds himself trying to use his online strategy to cope in the real world.
Finally, Ben is bullied and cruelly humiliated to the breaking point. Now it?s time for him to come up with an end game strategy. How will he escape the pain that is his daily life? There is increased tension and suspense in this movie that had me riveted until the end.
This movie was extremely well cast. Greg Timmermans? portrayal of the young man with Asperger?s syndrome is sensitively played and is spot-on. I also thought that Marijke Pinoy as his mother was wonderful and at times, I forgot that she was acting. I could completely relate to her powerful love of her son, and at the same time her profound sadness, worries and her feelings of futility.
There are several motifs in this film that would seem at odds with one another on paper, but work amazingly well onscreen.
This is also a movie that gives excellent insight into the mind of a person with Asperger?s syndrome, which is very difficult for most people to comprehend.
I can?t really tell you how the movie left me feeling, because that would give too much away. I will say that I was deeply affected by this movie.
If you or someone you love has ever been ostracized for being different or has been bullied, this movie is for you. If you have been a bully, or have stood idly by as someone is bullying another, this movie is for you too. Actually, this movie is for everyone.
I hope that you will give this movie a look, and let me know how you like it. I don?t think you?ll be sorry.