AWFJ EDA AWARD, BEST FEMALE-DIRECTED FILM, IDFA 2016
The only thing sweeter than the cream puffs in Maite Alberdi’s charming film are the warm and funny interactions between middle-aged students, all of whom have Down syndrome. Many of the residents have worked in the school bakery for forty years, but the pull of adulthood, and all it represents — sex, marriage, and family — has taken hold.
Anita is a gentle yet forthright young woman who longs for responsibility, intimacy, and, above all, love. As her relationship with her classmate Andres grows stronger, she starts to advocate for her own interests. Soon enough, Anita is confronted with the parameters that society has set for her. Ricardo is full of life and bursting with ideas and ambition. In addition to overseeing all the pastry operations, he also has a job at an old folk’s home looking after seniors. All of this activity is the service of his dream of financial independence, a home, and maybe even a family of his own. But it isn’t quite as straightforward as he’d hoped. Made with exquisite intimacy and a deep and profound respect for its characters, The Grown-Ups unravels the systems of control that ignore difference and demand homogeneity. -NH