Praying With Lior Reviews
Lior is looking forward to his upcoming bar mitzvah. He is surrounded by loving friends and family who do a very sincere job of talking about how much they love and respect Lior. Yet throughout, we get the impression that things aren't as neat and tidy in terms of Lior's relationships as his friends and family want to make them seem. Friends are honest on the playground in a more genuine way than their individual interview excerpts. Younger sister Anna seems to have some difficulties with Lior. Dad has high expectations. Step-mom is struggling to fit in without eclipsing the memory of the kids' deceased mother.
There are other issues lurking below the surface that the movie seems more keen to gloss over than deal with. Older brother's faith seems lacking, to say the least - something that would be worth exploring more in a family so overt in their observance of their faith. Lior is constantly praying yet this is really much less the focus of the movie than the title might lead you to believe. More focus on this would have been interesting - are there particular prayers he prefers? Does he have a reason for that (other than that his deceased mother sang some of them to him)?
More focus could have made this a more powerful film, but it was enjoyable enough as is.
Something said by one of the adults in the movie did get me to thinking, however: what if Lior is merely repeating what gains him praise and smiles? If, as she said, Christmas carols were the order of the day, would he be singing those instead with all his heart? Discussion like this is what I felt the movie was lacking. The summary at the back of the Netflix cover for this DVD claims that this movie deals with supremely deep questions about religion, disability, etc. I feel, though, that there are only two instances of this shown, one which I have mentioned, and the other where Lior's father muses upon the idea that perhaps his son has fewer "veils" between himself and God. I wanted more of this kind of discussion! In the end, this movie ends up being just the story of one boy on his way to becoming a man. The rest is left to the viewer to contemplate on their own time. Perhaps that is just as well, because if the question really were about how mental disability impacts one's faith and vice versa, I might have wanted to see how other families and children of those families integrated those two things. This movie certainly did not have time for that. All of the elements of drama are here already with just Lior. I felt sad alongside him for the loss of his mother. I empathized with his hopefulness that once a rite of passage happens, other things will just magically happen just because. I also, at the time came, found myself on the edge of my seat wondering if Lior was going to successfully pull off the Bar Mitzvah speech.
Then, seeing Lior two years after the initial filming was interesting - Lior really does look older and more distinguished. Part of me, sadly, thought that he'd remain a child forever because of his having Down Syndrome - but not so. Like his mother said, he will find his own path.
This movie is an interesting and admittedly cute adventure into a life that we don't usually see. I just wished it examined more of the big questions.