WORDS: JANAIS VAN ECK
We all have our personal obstacles that life throws at us and we are reminded of our challenges in this comical and beautiful film directed by Gren Wells. The Road Within either leads one to appreciate the life they have, or it allows those who struggle with the challenges to relate to what these three adolescents face on a daily basis. This film stars Vincent (Robert Sheehan) and his unexpected friends Alex (Dev Patel) and Maria (Zoë Kravitz), all of which are exceptionally convincing in their roles revolving different disorders.
Vincent and Alex, one with Tourette’s – the other with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and a young women with anorexia, Maria, live in an Experimental Rehabilitation Treatment Centre. The three soon find themselves on a rebellious journey to the ocean.
Following these young people as they support each other is inspiring and heart-warming. In a self-discovery movie, as the title suggests, it is rare to avoid frustrating clichés. Hence there are a few in this movie which at times lowers the impression of the film. The storyline may be overworked and the film risks inadequate portrayal of Tourette’s, OCD and anorexia. Yet these are forgiven due to the quality of the acting and the message of the movie presented in a humorous yet effective manner.
I truly did not expect much from this movie to begin with and contemplated if I should even watch it. I am pleased to have given it the benefit of the doubt and was rewarded with a delightful and moving film. Gren Wells succeeded in mixing humour, as well as awareness and acceptance of a few of the disorders that many people face. The audience is shown the characters’ perspective in a simple yet effective way. Overall the film approaches an interesting topic, which is refreshing amongst the recent films.