So next up was definitely the most fearless and personal (and also the best) documentary of the festival. "Indestructible" is the story of Ben Byer, a struggling actor/filmmaker and an energetic, reasonably athletic 31 year old father of a beautiful son. And then he was struck with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's disease. So he turns the camera on himself, and over three years, with the help of his family and friends, documents his deterioration. The result (and by the way, he's still alive, was at the screening and could still be filming and editing today if they didn't decide they needed to just finish it and get it out there) is amazing. His journey takes him to China for an herbal cure, which is semi-successful (at least it seems to slow the progression). He stays in China for an experimental spinal operation that ranges from useless to dangerous. Back home to recuperate he realizes that the operation was a failure, and documents his daily home life--ranging from hilarious (most of the time with his adorable son) to heartbreaking (a family fight which to me is the key to the film). Ultimately his journey takes him back to his Jewish roots and a trip to Israel to find religious meaning, which ends it on a nicely poignant note. I just have to say one more thing about the family fight. It wasn't anyone's best personal moment, but without it everyone in the movie is a saint and no one's a real person. This movie stretched my emotional limits in only two hours, I can't imagine how everyone involved suffered through this for 2 years (at the time, 5 years now). And watching someone who can barely stand up get up and storm/stagger out of a room, only to stagger back just to tell everyone off is a truly extraordinary sight. Oh yeah, and he owned a doggy and keep watching through the credits--there's a bonus doggy scene at the end.
This posting was taken from Jason Watches Movies. Read this and other of his reviews at http://jasonwatchesmovies.blogspot.com