One of the perks of running The Autism Page is doing reviews. Often these are children’s resources so I was particularly pleased when Studio Soho Distribution got in touch asking me to review a film they are distributing in the UK – Here We Are. I was given an early access pre-screen in exchange for an honest review.
Here We Are is an Israeli film directed by Nir Bergman. It is not a film about autism directly, it is about a father and son and the separation between parents and children as they become adults. The son however does happen to be autistic. I was pleased to see a film that felt more representative of my own family life for once.
Official Selection at Cannes
Here We Are was screened in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2020. It won Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the Ophir awards in Israel. The Drama is written by Dana Idisis who was inspired by the relationship between her brother and father.
I think it is a delightfully honest film which explores the reality of the parent / carer role. Superb performances by both Noam Imber (Aharon) and Shai Avivi (Uri) who play the father and son characters so naturally. The beautiful bond between the two characters is both uplifting and heartbreaking throughout the film.
I was pleased to see the film authentically delving into the life of the family. It successfully addresses very challenging issues that SEN families face. I was even more pleased to see that this was done subtly and in a very sincere way. The key focus of the film remaining on the relationship between its two main characters.
A familiar relationship
As a parent of two autistic boys so many small details in the film feel really familiar. Watching Uri say ‘goodbye’ to his mother after she had already left the house is something my son regularly does. It is these small details that show the film is written by someone with real experience and it provides that honest portrayal of family life that is a little bit different. This is in fact the case with the film taking inspiration from the writer Dana Idisis’ own family.
A genuine reflection of the relationship between a father and his autistic (young adult) son. The strained relationship between the separated mother and father helps to show the challenging decisions faced by the family. Both parents want to do the right thing for their son Uri but are understandably at odds with each other over what that right thing is. Faced with having to let go of his son as he moves to a specialist residential home we understandably see moments where Aharon is falling apart.
Throughout the film we see the subtle yet constant support Aharon provides for his son. From small reminders to put on his backpack to the constant state of alert in order to keep Uri (with his limited danger awareness) safe. In addition we see the looks from members of the public towards Uri. Showing the very real experience of constant disapproval facing disabled individuals today. The film displays a great understanding of autism along with the wider ignorance of society brilliantly.
My favourite quote from the film is when the mother is talking to Aharon the father about their son Uri:
‘You just know him’
For me that really sums up the bond between them.
About the film
The film is an hour and a half long and in Hebrew so subtitled for us English speakers. Here We Are will be released in UK cinemas from 23rd July 2021.
Find out more on the UK social channels for the film: