Monica & David, a film by Alexandra Codina
Ok, just to be honest, I usually cry on happy occasions. So When Monica & David, two young adults with Downs syndrome celebrated their wedding together in this beautiful film, I teared up more than just a little. You probably will too.
In 1985, the average life expectancy of a person with Down syndrome was 25 years. Today that number is 60 years. Improvements in medical treatment and enlightened care have resulted in increased longevity and quality of life. With these remarkable gains, more people with Down syndrome are seeking to experience “normal” life.
“Monica & David” is a film about to such real people.
Just as in all of life, the story of Monica and David’s first year together is about much more than the wedding ceremony. Filmmaker Codina lovingly chronicles the joys and challenges of two people experiencing love in new ways. The film casts light on the struggle of the newlyweds to find greater independence as well as the interdependence that they share with their parents. It is also the story of those parents trying to balance their desire to help Monica and David find that greater freedom while at the same time seeking to protect them as they have all their lives.
The sincere and gentle affection that Monica and David show each other is an inspiration. Likewise, the viewer is compelled to empathy as the frustrations and concerns of the real life challenges of these families appear so honestly on film. David nearly dies of diabetes and is required to follow a strict medical regimen. David and Monica’s parents worry what will become of them as they each grow older. They deal with the stresses of moving, retirement and other life changes. Monica and David wish to fulfill their love by having a child and their parents struggle with the practicality of the idea.
In short, “Monica & David” is a moving and thought-provoking film about two people and their families. It is about life and about love. It is the winner of multiple critical awards, including the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival prize for best documentary. I recommend it for its honesty, its humor and above all, for its humanity.