Films starring people with special needs are few and far between, primarily because it is hard for such individuals to follow character directions that are needed to tell a story. The only notable film in memory that has an intellectually disabled character is I Am Sam (2001), but even that is played by actor Sean Penn.
A new film casting someone with Down’s Syndrome is making its rounds, and you should give it your attention.
My Feral Heart is a debut feature film by British film director Jane Gull, and it is a down-to-earth, touching and heartfelt drama that shows various facets and dimensions of someone with special needs.
Steven Brandon plays the protagonist Luke, a young man with Down’s syndrome who encounters a friendship that tests his independence. He refuses to be confined to a home for special needs people, and volunteers to help a youth gardener Pete (Will Rastall) as an excuse to be outside. His personal helper Eve (Shana Swash), who realises his taste for adventure, allows him to remain outside but only with Pete’s supervision.
It is Luke and Pete’s interactions and friendly banter that brings out the beauty of My Feral Heart, as the duo engage in active conversations that shows how smart and witty Luke is. Without a doubt, the chemistry between both lead actors is nearly impeccable, and Brandon’s nuanced acting is admirable and certainly a joy to watch.
My Feral Heart is a deeply moving dramatic work that will have you engrossed from start to end. For a first feature effort and one that includes a lead actor with Down’s syndrome, this beautiful film is so simply delivered yet it strikes you hard in realisation that there are people with special needs who can indeed live an ordinary life. It gives you their point of view and shows it just takes a bit more patience and understanding to get to know them.
At only 83 minutes in duration, My Feral Heart actually feels a tad too short for its dramatic plot and one might even want to see more tension play out, as did this reviewer. Nevertheless, it is what it is and the outcome is a fantastic story of love and humanity regardless of one’s background.
My Feral Heart had its Asian Premiere in Singapore and is showing as part of the inaugural MINDS Film Festival 2016.
Date: 13 August 2016 (Saturday)
Cinema: Golden Village Plaza Singapura
Click here to buy your tickets!
Directed by: Jane Gull
Running time: 83 minutes
The MINDS Film Festival 2016 is brought to you by the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) and the Singapore Film Society (SFS).