Film Review: Never Too Sweet But Always Inspiring Aspie Seeks Love Screens at Northside Film Festival

JOVM’s Northside Festival Coverage begins in earnest this week with my dear friend and colleague Natalie Hamingson’s coverage and perspective of the festival. And it begins with with the first ever film review in this site’s history. (My coverage will be coming shortly as I’m still going through photos. And trust me, there are so many photos to go through. So many. But it’s worth it.) 

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Never Too Sweet But Always Inspiring: Aspie Seeks Love Screens at Northside
Film Festival, by Natalie Hamingson 

Pittsburgh director Julie Sokolow stated her intention with
her latest documentary, Aspie Seeks Love,
which follows a Pittsburgh writer and artist who was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 41 on his quest for love,
was to “not be saccharine.” While the film is full of poignant moments, it most
definitely achieves this goal.

“Aspie Seeks
Love,” which has already received a considerable amount of media praise, screened at Northside’s film festival on
June 9, 2015 at Williamsburg’s Union Docs. The film, listed as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 5 Picks for the 2015 Northside Film
Festival
would go on to receive a Special
Jury Mention by the festival later in the week.

Though the film follows a subject dealing with non-universal
obstacles, the story of protagonist David Matthews is incredibly relatable for
anyone who has ever faced rejection and found the will to keep going anyway.
And that doesn’t just apply to romance. While Matthews search for a
relationship is obviously the film’s centerpiece, Sokolow rounds out the story
by weaving in the many other elements of his life.

During a Q and A following the screening featuring both
Sokolow and Matthews, the director revealed that when Matthews contacted her
with a request to star in her next film, it wasn’t immediately clear if
Matthews’ Asperger’s would be a central feature. Her initial intrigue, having
seen Matthews around Pittsburgh from time to time, was actually his work as a
writer and artist. 

The film does
do a fine job of illuminating issues involved with Asperger’s, both for
Matthews personally, and for the Asperger’s population in general. For instance,
during the making of the film in 2012, Asperger’s was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)
as a specific condition, and lumped
in with all other autism spectrum disorders-a decision Matthews sees as harmful
to himself and those like him seeking treatment for Asperger’s specific
symptoms.

But Matthews’ art plays just as large of a role in the film,
as his struggle to put himself
out there in the dating world is juxtaposed with his attempt to put himself out
into the Pittsburgh art scene as a writer. He participates in readings, seeks
critiques and advice from peers, and even finishes a book through the film’s
making. As we get glimpses of his writing throughout the film, it’s obvious
that Matthews is a talented artist.

Matthews’ sense of wit also helps keep the overall narrative
pretty humorous, like when he jokes about a Mrs. Potato Head game being both
“capitalist and sexual propaganda.” (He didn’t miss a beat during the Q and A,
either, when Sokolow joked about finding a director for the sequel and he
offered Michael Bay as a suggestion.)

It is all of
the above that makes you cheer for Matthews as he attempts to meet the right
woman in this beautiful, but not syrupy, must-see documentary.

image

L to R: Director Julie Sokolow and David Matthews

Aspie Seeks Love is headed next to London’s East End Film Festival on July 2, 2015. For information on how to host a screening, visit http://aspieseekslove.com/showtimes/. Photo provided by http://aspieseekslove.com/press/.

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Natalie Hamingson bio: I am a freelance writer with over nine years of experience writing for online media, primarily journalistic. My expertise is in music journalism, especially feature artist interviews. (Outlets published on include: Music for America, LA2DAY, Covers, Chicks with Guns, my own blog, http://nataliejill.wordpress.com, and BlvdCentral.com.)

I am, however, very flexible in my ability to write about multiple subjects. My second most covered topics are political and social issues. Those issues frequently appear in my music related articles, as I often cover artists with social justice focused messages.

In addition, my background includes freelance marketing work, such as social media/viral marketing, blog and website content, and press releases for artists and non-profits. I also have extensive editing and proofreading experience.

For samples visit my portfolio: http://www.clippings.me/nataliehamingson, and blog: https://nataliejill.wordpress.com.

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