Mission To Lars (12A)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner08/06/2012

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 74 mins

Warm hearted and ultimately moving documentary that combines gentle humour, an engaging central quest and some thought provoking observations on learning disability.

What's it all about?
Co-directed by James Moore and William Spicer, Mission to Lars centres on three members of the Spicer family: journalist Kate, filmmaker William and their middle brother Tom, who has a form of severe autism known as Fragile X syndrome. Feeling like they have never really bonded with their brother, Kate and Will decide to help Tom achieve his long held, repeatedly expressed (“Wanna meet Lars. Wanna meet Lars”) dream of meeting Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, so they arrange to fly to Los Angeles and hire a motorhome in order to follow Metallica around on tour.

However, aspects of Tom's autism involve a need for order and routine, as well as increased anxiety in unpredictable social situations and Kate and Will soon realise that helping Tom achieve his dream will present a huge challenge for all three of them. Along the way, they pay a visit to Fragile X expert Randi Hagerman and receive invaluable help and advice from Tom's step-mother Jane.

The Good
Kate is a lively and likeable presence on screen (Will is seen less often, as he's frequently behind the camera) and their quest is genuinely engaging, even though we share their parents' anxiety that, having not spent much time with Tom over the years, they may be biting off more than they can chew. The full reality sinks in when they ask each family member for things they should remember about Tom's condition and are presented with a lengthy, seemingly never-ending list.

Moore and Spicer direct with an intimate, handheld style that relies on closely following Kate and Tom and frequent, impromptu to-camera interviews with Kate. This allows for some genuinely moving observations, as Kate and Will are forced to examine their own motives for what they're doing and realise that far from helping Tom, they are actually causing him greater pain and difficulty by removing him from his comfortable daily routine; they also belatedly realise that having established this level of personal contact with their brother, none of them can go back to the way things were before.

The Great
Despite some fraught moments of tension involving Tom even setting off on the trip in the first place (as well as the fact that he refuses to attend the first concert), there's never any real doubt which way this is going and the final twenty minutes of the film are hugely uplifting. Frankly, after this film, everybody will want to meet Lars.

Worth seeing?
Mission to Lars is a well made, entertaining and emotionally engaging documentary that's well worth seeking out, not least because all profits from the film are going to charity. Highly recommended.

Be the first to review Mission To Lars...
image
01 Pudsey The Dog: The Movie (U)

David Walliams, Olivia Colman

image
02 Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire, Sarah-Jayne Butler, Chris Leveaux...

image
03 Cycling with Moliere (tbc)

Fabrice Luchini, Lambert Wilson, Maya Sansa

image
04 The Nut Job (U)

Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson

image
05 The Equalizer (tbc)

Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz

Content updated: 23/07/2014 19:04

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire stars as a young woman disillusioned with the new world of work and the lack of Mr Right in her life.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.