Here We Are
Aharon (Shai Avivi) has a loving and companionable relationship with his autistic son Uri (Noam Imber). Having walked away from his career as a graphic designer and with his ex-wife largely left out in the cold, the father becomes his child’s sole caregiver. The boy is now in his 20s and his mother has decided that it’s time for him to forge some semblance of independence by moving into an assisted living facility (and she has obtained a court order to that effect). Aharon is in quiet – though emphatic – disagreement about this turn of events and he believes it’s a case of “father knows best”.
The plot could be written on a post-it note, but the simplicity of the storyline conceals the complex emotional nuances of director Nir Bergman’s drama. While it might be the norm in Israel, the narrative of a court order mandating that Uri must move to a special facility is somewhat hard to grasp. However, the protagonist’s instinctive reaction to remove his son from a distressing situation, by spontaneously going on the run, is not. The father is steadfast in his belief that his child needs him, and only him, and it’s unthinkable for Aharon to entertain the notion that this might not be mutual.
Seemingly impassive with his expressively sad eyes, Avivi gives a truly first-rate, modest performance. His character’s determination and faith that he’s doing what’s in his son’s best interests borders on pigheadedness, but he remains a depiction of marvellous empathy. Understated is a keyword for Here We Are. Imber’s portayal of autism retains its subtlety, even during the young man’s outbursts. In less assured hands, the whole piece could have rapidly devolved into theatrical caricature. Any moments that had the potential of sliding into cloying sentimentality are deliberately sidestepped with success.
The placid nature of the film’s tone and pacing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Bergman’s determinedly composed approach to the material has resulted in a graceful, arresting feature of great emotional depth.
Here We Are is released in select cinemas on 23rd July 2021.
Watch the trailer for Here We Are here: