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39 Pounds of Love (Unrated)

Release Date: November 23rd, 2005 (NYC-Landmark Sunshine Cinemas) by HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films.
Directed by Dani Menkin.
In English, Hebrew, and Spanish with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Ami, a 34 year-old man diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) who travels from Israel to America for a road trip across the states to fulfill his life-long dreams.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: When Ami was a baby, a doctor told his mother that he would not live longer than six years. Now, at the age of 34, his mission is clear: he wants to find this doctor in America and prove to him that he was wrong. His mother refuses to let him travel at first because, at just 39 pounds, he can only move a finger on his left hand. Amazingly and even magically he creates beautiful 3-D animation with the use of that finger. Director Dani Menkin makes you truly care about Ami thanks to the close detail of his life before the journey. Christina, Amiís first caretaker, leaves him before he sets out to America with Asaf, his new caretaker. Ami clearly pines for Christina for the rest of this film. There are a few scenes with Amiís 3-D computer animation which reflect the way he feels, especially about Christina. As he and Asaf travel from location to location, 39 Pound of Love never seems redundant or remotely boring because of how surprisingly lively and normal Ami appears to beóhe even shows his sexual desires in one scene. Throughout this exciting journey you hope, along with him, that he will find his doctor and finally get to confront him face to face.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Ami is a true inspiration and role model for somebody who overcomes his obstacles in life and wants to move forward toward fulfilling his dreams. By searching for his first doctor and confronting him, part of his dream is also to have closure. What he intelligently tells his doctor that only God can decide how long somebody will live. It would have been interesting to get more of a response out of the doctor, who is now in his 70ís. However, Ami clearly doesnít want to embarrass or insult him in any way. He just wants to speak his mind and move on with his life. The 3-D animation sequences are quite touching and are, in many ways, an ode to Christina. Hopefully, she will watch this documentary somewhere and perhaps reunite with Ami.



THE BOTTOM LINE: Inspiring, heartfelt, and thoroughly engaging from start to finish!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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