Originally posted at the Jerusalem Post.

'Laces' is a new and welcome instance of a character who would once have been in the shadows taking center space on the big screen.

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness in Israel of people with disabilities, and this has been reflected in the entertainment industry. Movies such as Mabul and Next to Her and television series, including Yellow Peppers and, most recently, On the Spectrum, have presented people with autism and mental retardation as full-fledged characters, not problems to be solved or people whose only function is to elicit pity. Now, Jacob Yankul Goldwasser's engaging comedy/drama, Laces, can be added to the growing list of Israeli movies that feature characters with special needs.

Goldwasser, who is the father of a son with special needs, has created a touching film that raises some serious questions about societyโ€™s attitude toward the disabled, questions that cannot be answered easily. The film starts off with Reuven (Dovalโ€™e Glickman), a Jerusalem garage owner who has not seen his retarded son for years, getting the news that his ex-wife has been killed in a traffic accident. There is no one else to take care of their son, Gadi (Nevo Kimchi), who is now in is late 30s. At first, it seems like this is going to be one of those movies where an irascible older man, set in his ways, is revitalized by reconnecting with his son, a story we've seen so many times. But this isn't that movie, or, rather, it isn't only that movie. Gadi, who has to deal with the crushing grief of the sudden loss of his mother, also has to cope with a scary new world, in which she is no longer there to shield and support him. Apparently his mother nurtured him and embraced him for who he was, with all his quirks, while Reuven walked out because he couldnโ€™t handle any of that. Gadi still gets upset when he is served a plate with different foods touching, and can't go to sleep without a foot massage. Reuven is in control in his garage, but when he gets out, he barely has the energy to do anything, much less care for someone who needs as much help as Gadi does..

Continue reading the original review at the Jerusalem Post.