by WILL CONRAD
Wow. The good things I have to say about “Beyond” would stretch this review far past the point of being a novel in itself. Adding to that is the fact I don’t want to write out all the details because, frankly? I want whoever is reading this actually to watch the film – and experience it for themself. But in a nutshell, “Beyond” focuses on the Mark family as Tamara Mark herself guides us through a life where sacrifice for family is remarkably captured. Via the seemingly always present cameras, and there’s a good reason for that, viewers are essentially a fly on the wall as Tamara cares for her two children, Ian and Harry, who both have autism.
It should be noted that implying that Tamara cares for her children herself is a drastic understatement. The more accurate way to describe life in the Mark household is that of a pop-up circus with Tamara doing what she can to be the ringleader amidst the chaos. The ups and downs and frustrations coming from her, and her two children are excellently captured, giving the audience a snapshot of what most parents will do for the love of their children. Thiago Dadalt and Dru Miller unleash a documentary that is both extremely hard-hitting and often incredibly touching. “Beyond” was a film that flew by and probably one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a long while.
What I couldn’t help but notice was just how much content was in this movie – and yet it was very easy to follow along with. The format itself, although familiar, is also a little different from a typical documentary. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but there are times when “Beyond” feels more like a scripted movie than a reality doc. I don’t mean that the film comes across as unbelievable or anything like that, just that it’s different in a way I can’t quite put into words. Again, we’re back to what I wrote about earlier – wanting anyone reading to watch for themselves.
When it’s all said and done, “Beyond” is what I would consider to be the gold standard when it comes to visually explaining autism. Obviously, there are different kinds and varying degrees, but “Beyond” is different for one main reason. It goes beyond the initial source material. Straight away, complete sacrifice is demonstrated. Unconditional love quickly follows suit, all while demonstrating the hardships and shortcomings of our social system. To sum things up in three words? Watch this film. You won’t be sorry.
4.5 / 5 stars