(director: Lara Stolman; cinematographer: Laela Kilbourn; editor: Ann Collins; music: Mark Suozzo; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Lara Stolman, Ann Collins, Shanna Belott; Woodland Park Production; 2016)

“Uplifting sports documentary.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Uplifting sports documentary. It features co-ed teens with autism competing on a swimming team formed by one of their parents (Maria and Mike McQuay).

It’s a well-made and warm-hearted film directed by documentarian and longtime TV news producer Lara Stolman. The engaging film follows three (Mike McQuay Jr., Robert Justino and Kelvin Truong) diverse autistic teen swimmers on the Jersey Hammerheads team of Perth Amboy, N.J., as they train hard under head coach Mike Sr. (Mike juniors dad) for the national Special Olympics and strive for a dignified life. The athletes are all compelling and sympathetic figures, whose story is refreshingly told in this straightforward film that shows that caring for kids with special-needs can be costly both financially and emotionally.

We observe these kids in everyday life and the problems they must deal with in school and society. It was just a relief to hear Mike Jr. exclaim “When I’m swimming, I feel normal,” which sums up the point of the film.

REVIEWED ON 2/8/2018 GRADE: B       https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/