September/October 2018  (Volume 33, Issue 5)

Keep the Change

Kino Lorber, 93 min., not rated, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray: $34.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

In Keep the Change, the main characters are autistic adults with learning disabilities, played by nonprofessional actors who are autistic, but writer-director Rachel Israel never hypes or exploits the casting decision in this pleasant romantic comedy. David (Brandon Polansky) is the grown son of a wealthy Manhattan couple who control his life and fret for his future. After telling an off-color joke (something he tends to do without considering consequences) to a police officer, David is ordered by a judge to attend a Jewish community center offering group support for people who are autistic. Resistant to participating, a standoff-ish David is assigned to partner with Sarah (Samantha Elisofon) on an assignment to visit the Brooklyn Bridge. Sarah is like an adorable freight train of positivity and sincerity, but she is also painfully anxious and vulnerable. Eventually, the two become a couple, to the dismay of other group members and David’s parents. Generally speaking, the typical rom-com arc of love/breakup/makeup is at play here, but Israel and actors Polansky and Elisofon are subtle and effective at depicting what warts-and-all mutual acceptance looks like. Recommended. (T. Keogh)