Friday, 22 June 2012

Mission To Lars

If you read my blog regularly you're going to know that my #2 son, Carb Addict is severely autistic. I suppose like many parents who have a child with some kind of 'ailment' (for want of a better word) my ears prick up when I hear the word 'autism' mentioned....same thing when I spot anything written about it in the papers or whatever. So when I read the following review in the Mail on Sunday last week I said to Big Man 'I'd love to see this film'.

'The British documentary Mission To Lars (15) has a whole lot of heart as journalist Kate Spicer and her film-maker brother take their autistic sibling Tom to America to meet his hero Lars Ulrich, the drummer with heavy metal band Metallica. There are times when things feel manipulated but this never deflects from several emotional climaxes.'

There must have been some kind of karma going on because the next morning before work I discovered that our local arts cinema, the fab-u-losa Harbour Lights, was showing Mission to Lars for just that one night! I got Red's okay to mind Carb Addict for the evening (NOT always a foregone conclusion) and told Big Man that we were going out. Believe it or not this is a pretty rare occurrence given that our children are 22, 20 and nearly 19, and that the younger two don't even normally live with us. We were surprised that the cinema was fairly full with all age groups represented but oddly enough mainly older couples in gangs. Who knows what their interest was.

You know when everybody in the audience starts clapping at the end of a film that it's been pretty good. Mission to Lars is a real feelgood movie and yes, it is kind of obvious that there's going to be a successful resolution to the siblings' quest. The gist of the film is that for many years Tom, a huge Metallica fan, has told his sister Kate that he 'wanna meet Lars', Lars being Lars Ulrich, the band's drummer (who, I might add, comes out of the film fantastically well).

In fact Tom isn't autistic but suffers with Fragile X Syndrome. Similar but not quite the same. We recognised a lot of Tom's behaviours in Carb Addict, in particular the desperation to carry out a particular act but then withdrawing, refusing to do it when the time comes. Carb Addict used to have a befriender from Kids, a mid-fifties lady named Margaret who was very glamorous and who I personally think is the cause of Carb Addict's swooning interest in far older (verging on pensionable) blonde women. (Yes, it IS embarrassing by the way, the worst experience being during my nieces' First Holy Communion. Mortified is not the faces all around, not least the flustered, pink-cheeked grandma of another child). Anyway, Margaret came once a month to take Carb Addict out for a few hours, normally bowling, and during the rest of the month that wasn't those four hours Carb Addict would constantly be repeating 'Margaret, Margaret'. However, when Margaret arrived to take him out in her car he used to refuse to look at her or put his coat on and had to be persuaded or threatened (by me, not Margaret) to go with her. He always had a great time. In the same way, when Tom gets his chance to finally meet Lars he refuses twice......

This was such a great film and it's a shame that it's had a limited release but in all honesty it's the kind of thing you'd see as a documentary on Channel 4. In fact, don't be surprised if thats exactly where you catch it, maybe even before the end of the year. A really good thing is that the profits from the film are being donated to Mencap. I urge you to see it if you possibly can at any Picturehouse cinema. Here's a taster....


  1. Sounds like an interesting film - must look out for it.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  2. I cannot stand Lars Ulrich from previous documentaries, so on more than one level I'm keen to see this.
    Fragile X is possibly a more heart-breaking syndrome to watch unfold than Autism (from a carer, not parental perspective of course).
    I saw the saddest deterioration with one child, he went from charismatic, sporty and fun young lad, into a confused, weak and grumpy teen in the space if 5 years.

    1. Lucy, your best chance will be to wait for it on TV....seems like London is the only place where it shows for more than one night

      K xx

  3. The movie looks very inspirational...will have to keep and eye out for it over here!

    I just found your blog and became a follower (: Can't wait to come back for more posts! Hope you have a lovely weekend!!


  4. A thought provoking film I'm sure.
    Please pop-over for a quick visit, I have something for you!
    Rose H


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