Praying With Lior - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Praying With Lior Reviews

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August 28, 2017
Beautiful film - documentary about bar mitzveh of Downe's syndrome boy
November 25, 2014
I thought this movie was just an extraordinary film. The dialog was utterly captivating and doesn't attempt to guide you to any specific conclusions, but it does encourage philosophical thought. Since this is a documentary, and all of the footage is real, you can see and judge for yourself about the philosophy. It won't be spoon-fed to you. Which in my opinion is the best way to present something like this. If you can walk away from this movie without thinking about things with a wider view, then you missed the whole movie. It also gives an inside view of some of the Jewish culture, and shows his actual Bar Mitzvah, and the preparations leading up to it. It was educational for me.
May 17, 2012
Interesting subject to be sure, but a lot of question marks. The film and Lior's fans seem to think that he has a preternatural closeness to God, but I agree with his father that it might be more of a cultural reflex than spirituality.
March 4, 2012
A lot more laughs than you might expect, this was a pleasant little movie about a special young man. If you are interested in Judaism, special needs people and their families, or human interest films in general, you might want to check this one out.

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.
½ November 6, 2011
One of the sweetest films I've ever seen. As a viewer, you can really sense the love Lior feels for God and his family. I agree with one of the kids interviewed - "when God makes Lior have down syndrome, it also becomes a test for us. how we treat Lior. if we do things with Lior. that's part of our test." It was so nice to see young kids articulately explain why each person has a God-given dignity and how it's our responsibilty to reach out to others with love; especially people with mental disabilities, since so often they are the blessed individuals who love without limitation.
½ August 21, 2011
This is a great movie that provides a lot of insight into the Jewish family in the United States, or at least I assume that it provides a lot of insight. Despite the title, the movie is not so much about religion as it is about community, family and tradition. The movie also helps the viewer to realize that we all have a role to play in society and within our circles of influence.
August 3, 2011
This is a heartwarming documentary about life, love and the triumph of the human spirit.
July 17, 2011
A poignant and moving look at an impressionable Jewish boy with down-syndrome getting ready for his Bar-Mitzvah without being exploitative of it's subject matter.Some moments made me laugh and smile, others made me cringe and want to break down crying.
December 1, 2010
A wonderful documentary that will both delight and lift you. A sweet natured boy with downs syndrome is about to become 13 and make his bar mitzvah that he is so looking forward to. He prays with much passion and it's heart-warming to see. We meet his siblings and father and step-father and get their perspective, as well as footage of Lior with his own mother when he was younger before she died of cancer. This movie speaks of life - it's happiness and sadness and most of all the joy. Recommended.
½ July 31, 2010
What a wonderful, supportive and close-knit family Lior has. This movie was very interesting to watch for me simply to see what that big-family atmosphere is like, so bustling and busy and full of faith. Lior is a person that seems very happy and oblivious, spiritually inclined and playful. It feels right to call him a "spiritual genius" in a lot of ways, because sometimes in his interviews he acts as if he's got some pretty sure answers to life's questions and just doesn't feel like telling! And perhaps that is the case - maybe he really does know what it means to be close to God, but it is something one can only be and not necessarily explain in old-fashioned words.

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.
March 30, 2010
A thorough demonstration of how a person can be uplifted in an accepting and embracing community and family
December 1, 2009
Na, tai filmas nebutnai apie Liora (jis pats sake, jog serga ne down, o up sindromu), bet apie stipria bendruomenes dvasia, seima ir pasisventima. Akcentas buvo religija ir, manau, nesuklysta. Puikios tradicijos. "Kitokie" taip pat puikiai gali integruotis, tik reikia siek tiek kantrybes ir supratimo.
Super Reviewer
½ November 28, 2009
Honestly, everything I know about the Jewish faith (which isn't much) I've learned from watching Fiddler On the Roof seven or eight times. With that in mind, the story of Lior Liebling is, for me, as enlightening as it is inspirational. A great documentary about challenge and faith and family and "Up Syndrome".
April 3, 2009
This was a somewhat interesting movie about a Jewish kid with Down Syndrome, and what his life is like before he gets Bat Mitzvah'd. It was made on the cheap, but the kid seems pretty cool, and you there are some genuine heartwarming moments in it. I thought it was a good movie to see kind of what a close-knit Jewish community in America is like.
½ March 30, 2009
As the intro. writes, "faith can be simple." The often thought of 'liability' of having a Down syndrome child is in this movie an "Up syndrome. You may argue that Lior's enjoyment in 'davening' (praying) and singing is an expression and a sort of receiving affirmation from others, then you can't deny that his 'unhindered' and 'unveiled' expressions of prayer liberates people not only to connect with him, but with God. The movie is enveloped in a family of unconditional love and acceptance, and friends and community who allows Lior to participate in their lives. This is so lacking in our world where we are even 'intellectually impaired.'
November 28, 2008
"Patiently and delicately, Ms. Trachtman teases out the tricky dynamics of a family dealing with a disabled child. " -- NYT
½ November 12, 2008
You can't help but fall in love with the pain in the touchas, Lior!
August 1, 2008
Probably one of the most exquisite & meaningful documentaries every made.
April 13, 2008
A wonderful, heartwarming and heartbreaking film. Truly beautiful.
April 3, 2008
While this the premise for this documentary is about a boy with down syndrome who has a passion for davening (praying) that's a camouflage for a story about a simple boy who has unconditional love for everyone around him and about the people in his life who love him back. While one sibling may be jealous of the attention Lior receives (which is 100% normal for a sibling), the other two siblings, the brother especially, has an amazing devotion to their brother. Lior may have down syndrome but he has such a passion for life and really only sees the good in the world, and most people could really learn a lot from him. Also, by the end of many documentaries where families allow the director into their homes, the audience gets the feeling they will never be invited back. This isn't always the director's fault as often new developments arise that the director must follow to tell the entire story. In this film though, the director paints a very nice portrait of the family that is fair but also seems generally honest and leaves no doubt that both the family and the director have total respect of each other, which was nice to see. If you enjoyed this movie, I also recommend the comparable and also inspiring "Autism: The Musical".
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