Portrait of a family in transition: a mother, a father, and their son, their "best boy".
Pearl and Max Wohl live in Queens with Philly, their cheerful, engaging, and mentally-disabled son. For 50 years Pearl and Max have provided a loving home for Philly, but they're aging, Max is ailing, and they must figure out what's to happen to Philly when they can no longer care for him. Are there options besides an institution? Philly's cousin is Ira Wohl, whose camera follows the family as Philly takes steps into the wider world.
Awards and Accreditations:
Oscar. Best Documentary 1980. Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award.
Best Documentary 1981. New York Film Critics Circle Award.
Best Documentary. 1980. Toronto International Film Festival. People s Choice Award.
The filmmaker's cousin, Philly, is a man in his early 50's who is emotionally developmentally challenged. Philly is still cared for by his parents (his father shaves him each morning). Ira recognizes that the parents will not always be alive to care for their son, and procedes to get training for Philly to allow him to live on his own in an assisted living environment.
This family drew me in as they worked with the day to day joy of the son learning and becoming more self reliant. But guess what comes with self reliance? And imagine how hard that might be to accept after all the years of taking care of almost every detail.
It really is a joyful film, and a wonderful look at human nature.
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