Directed by Joe LoBianco and co-written with Jessica LoBianco, after being forced out of his group home, a developmentally disabled man struggles to find and protect a new life on his own. Starring: Robert Aloi, Erica Boozer, Stacy Kessler, Debra Toscano and Kylie Silverstein.
With a story such as this, of a vulnerable man being forced into a life on his own that is alien and frightening to him and coming across, a young, independent forthright girl, it has the potential to come across as incredibly sickly but impressively this film manages to resist crossing that line. It opens on a note of mystery, with a fantastic credit sequence which is a nice bonus, some filmmakers don’t always realise how big of an impact or impression an extra touch like that can have but they’ve made the effort here.
You can quite quickly feel the quality of the direction and editing, unfortunately it feels a step above the writing and acting, though both are perfectly acceptable, they don’t stand out. While the dialogue isn’t unexpected, the story itself does manage to surprisingly draw you in, there’s a protective instinct that kicks in with Brandon (Aloi) and keeps you wanting to make sure that he doesn’t get hurt. Brandon’s burgeoning friendship with his neighbours is charming, young but caring Rose (Silverstein) and the sympathetic, generous Tammy (Boozer), it has a generous spirit and it’s endearing to watch them take him under their wing, as if they were his sisters and try to bring him out of his shell, while simultaneously making him feel more comfortable with himself.
There are a few choices that come across as heavy handed, the score can be slightly over the top and a couple of the characters are much more exaggerated than is really necessary, both these things working together can be a little off-putting but it thankfully it doesn’t dampen the spirit of the film overall. There’s also a few issues of plot holes or changes in attitude which go unexplained, when you have a character who is very particular about everything and extremely sensitive to his environment, it’s easy to miss the necessity to keep things perfectly in line with that and sadly the script falls prey to those lapses, particularly in its final moments which leaves things on a somewhat puzzling note, even when intended as sweet.
3 Doors from Paradise gives a view into the broad insensitivity of people towards those with disabilities, the lack of understanding or empathy is very clear and an accurate representation. It’s a charming story with a wholesome message, that unfortunately lets itself down a little with a few less than ideal choices.
Verdict: 5/10 |✯✯1/2