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Written by: Thiago Dadalt, Dru Miller |   Directed by: Thiago Dadalt |  Genre: Documentary

 Many years ago, Tamara Mark was living the dream. Through hard work, talent, and a little luck, she was on her way to becoming a celebrity… without question. Although just starting out, she was landing some excellent roles with some famous directors, and she could dance. Could she EVER! But her life just wasn’t meant to be that way, and she gave it all up to be a parent. Times two! It’s a sacrifice most people could relate to, but a hard road lay ahead… harder than many parents have to travel. Her two sons, Ian and Harry, are nonverbal autistic children, now adults.

 To make this film as realistic as possible, Thiago Dadalt literally lived in the Mark’s household for about a year. Sleeping on their couch, always at the ready with the camera. The bursts of activity shown onscreen are just as they happen—chaos on camera with some moments of peace and clarity thrown in. The story of these three individuals is supplemented with the army of folks helping Tamara and, later, those who want what she wants. A community for her children to live in, specifically for those with autism. The “story” of the film is not really a story per se but instead a snapshot into the lives of those with autism and those who care for them. And it is brilliant.

 Thiago living at the house has allowed for some excellent timing of shots and “episodes” he normally wouldn’t have been able to get, and this propels Beyond much past entertainment. It regularly crosses the line to education, and I believe that is what makes this film so special. There isn’t any acting here, and for the most part, it’s all off the cuff, except for the talking head portions of the film. Yes, Beyond demonstrates the hardships of raising children/adults with autism, but it also shows the systemic problems as well. Things as common and simple as dentistry become absolute ordeals.

 Beyond is an emotional ride that keeps you watching. Even the best information or educational projects mean nothing if the viewer isn’t also hooked. My eyes were glued to the screen. If you know anyone, yourself included, that wants a real look at autism… this is the one. Beyond is the one you need to watch. Thiago Dadalt and Dru Miller have an excellent film here. Thank you for reading.

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