On Friday, landmarks around the world “lit it up blue” in honor of Autism Awareness Month. “Lighting it up blue” may raise awareness but it does not capture the reality of living and breathing autism. I’ll Be Fine, a documentary by Micha Hillard, captures this reality by giving us a glimpse into the life of 19-year old autistic teen, Tim, and his family.
Normally, films cover disorders from the sufferer’s perspective, but this documentary does the opposite. It portrays autism through the parents’ strife in raising Tim, and it does so in an honest manner. I’ll Be Fine is a portrait of the disorder’s influence over an entire family. The parents’ exhaustion and contemplation of the future are depicted as how the family has lived under the shadow of autism. “It’s a push, you have to keep pushing,” said Tim’s mother. “The things that motivate you to grow up, they’re kind of scary to him. There will be a point when I am done with pushing, I won’t be able to push anymore and get him any further.”
Not only is I’ll Be Fine a film about autism, it’s also a depiction of a tight-knit family tackling its hardships. The film may not display the family’s struggles, but there are plentiful of images of the family spending time together as they watch Doctor Who, or as they go for a swim. Displaying the hardships of family dealing with autism is not the main point of the film. Just like Tim’s family, many families have struggled with the disorder and have wondered how they’ll adapt. Thus, it’s crucial to show these loving moments between Tim and his parents because, just as the film’s title suggests, they’ll be fine.
Watch I’ll Be Fine.