Directed by Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini, Dina is a genuinely affecting, tender and deeply honest film which tells the story of a blossoming romance between two adults with learning difficulties. Dealing with serious issues relating to mental health and intimacy between two very self-aware people, the film does a commendable job in staying true to its subjects by avoiding any interference with the way they interact with each other and others around them. The couple’s comical interactions and even their constant bickering only succeeds in making them more likeable, which in turn allows us to feel deeply moved by their experiences.
Dina Bruno is getting ready to marry her fiancé Scott Levin in a few weeks time and there’s still so much to do to prepare for the big day. While she frets and worries about everything going smoothly, Dina also worries about moving Scott to her small apartment from his parents’ house where he has lived most of his life. As the couple is slowly learning to co-habit, it emerges that Dina is trying her very best to be more accommodating to a new person in her life. Having lost her husband to cancer a few years earlier, Dina is finding it hard to get used to another man in her home and around her, but is also frustrated as she isn’t able to get Scott interested in her physically.
Hoping to get him more familiarised with his marital duties, Dina decides to gift Scott the infamous The Joy Of Sex book which she choses to give him in public in the most indiscrete fashion. It soon transpires that within Dina’s past lies a dark and violent episode which she has never fully recovered from.
Having overcome tragedy after tragedy, 48 year old Dina may not always be the most serene or collected woman, but she manages to give the impression that she in charge of her own destiny. More than aware of her star-value and watchability, Dina is as capricious as she is kind to those around her, even managing to make up with her indifferent mother before the big day.
The directors approach the subject of romantic love between two people living with Asperger’s very delicately and allow them to talk uninterrupted about their fears and hopes for the future. The interactions are at times hilarious and very touching, but never trivial or boring. As Dina talks about her past and longing for a more physical relationship, the film handles her wishes and thoughts by avoiding any judgement or criticism.
On the whole, Dina offers it’s audience far more than they bargained for without being moralising or predictable. Dina is a film about woman who knows exactly what she wants from life and isn’t afraid to ask for it. Which is more than can be said about the rest of us.