Dina

If two people on the autism spectrum can find love together, maybe there’s hope for us all.

Mostly shot in long, unmoving, medium takes that further blur the already indefinite line between documentary and not-documentary, Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ Dina follows the wedding preparations of two Philadelphians at various places on the autism spectrum. Forty-eight-year-old widow Dina is very tactile and a big fan of physical affection, while her fiancé Scott — a self-described “Aspie” who’s never moved out of his family’s house — loves her but has big issues with touching and being touched. They face the issues all couples face whether they’re on any spectrum or not, particularly regarding their differing pasts — and the gnarly scars on Dina’s back — but they’re able to talk about them with an openness that “normal” couples often lack.

Oddly, the fact that most scenes are staged doesn’t make them feel any less authentic; rather, it feels like these are exactly the conversations Dina and Scott would be having even if they didn’t have to occasionally wait for Santini and Sickles to set up a new camera angle. In the end, the off-center romance of Dina is enough to make you think that maybe there really is someone for everyone. There isn’t, of course — it’s among the biggest of the Big Lies — but it’s reassuring to see that these nice folks are among the exceptions.

Dina
Not rated.
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.

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