Her name is Laila (played by Kal Koechelin). She has cerebral palsy, confined to a wheelchair but she’s a wicked cool musician. Sure, she can’t sing but she write amazing lyrics and makes jamming electronic beats. After experiencing her first heartbreak she gets the news that she was admitted to a university in New York. While her father doesn’t approve of the idea, Laila is off with both her parents and brother’s blessings and now she has to navigate the life of big city America while going through her very own sexual revolution–in the midst of all of that, tragedy strikes and Laila’s life is once again thrown into disarray.
Margarita with a Straw scared me at first. Why? I believed it would be hard to watch a movie about someone in a wheelchair with such a horrible illness. I thought I would spend the entire film just sobbing and depressed. And I have to admit, I quite reluctantly agreed to go. I think the only reason why I agreed was that this was a #Jodate where I get to spend time with a great friend. Still I was not disappointed.
I must point out though, this movie had the potential of going horribly wrong, yet the film-makers had the courage to risk it. What do I mean? A story about the sexual enlightenment of someone in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy could have been made tacky, offensive and full of stereotypes–none of which are good things.
But, Margarita with a Straw succeeded!
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. There was a warmth within the bones of the story along with a lesson that didn’t bash the viewers in the face but gently guided them away from one way of thinking about those with disabilities.
It made me uncomfortable–not in a horrible way but in the context opening my eyes to those around me. For a while I didn’t see most people with disability as sexual beings–heck I didn’t even think about it. I spend so much time trying to help them (whether it is to hold a door open or speak up when I see bullying happening) then seeing them as just people going through their lives like I am–individuals with needs and wants just like the rest of us. Those with disabilities go through their very own self discovery to intimacy like everyone else and it’s okay!
The acting was superb in Margarita with a Straw . Kal Koechelin was so amazing on screen I found myself wondering if she did have cerebral palsy (no she doesn’t by the way). There was such emotion in the way she carried herself on screen, such believability. Her mother played by (Revathi). Every character was important no matter how much screen time they received. It was as though they intricately researched characterization and found the perfect formula.
If you get the chance to see it, be warned this film will break your heart in wonderfully, miraculous ways and put it back together while reminding you what it is to be human.