Trying to lose one’s virginity has been a staple plot, character arc, climax of many teen dramas, and comedies, usually the latter because sex is funny right? It’s the basis for a character’s motivation through these genre films and usually has the same outcome, but the journey is the real story where we find out there’s more to the character than we realised. Come As You Are doesn’t exactly flip this genre trope on its head but instead takes this plot point and makes a human story that you had hoped to see one day told in cinema.

Scotty is 24 years old, likes to rap and enjoys a drink at the pub, thinks about sex, a lot and he also restricted to using an automated wheelchair and has limited use of one of his hands to operate it. After finding out about a brothel in Canada that specialises in taking care of disabled people, Scotty rounds up his blind friend Mo and potential new friend Matt, also a wheelchair user, to make the journey, against their parents and caregivers wishes. Driven by ex-nurse Sam, the group bonds over the course the trip with heartfelt and painful realisations along the way.  

There is the obvious criticism that this film will face and that is that the lead actors are all non-disabled. It is a shame that the filmmakers didn’t take the opportunity to cast for the roles. Despite this, the story and characters are amusing, treading in some cases down the black comedic route and usually whenever Scotty talks. The three leads; Grant Rosenmeyer, Hayden Szeto, and Ravi Patel all give fantastic performances giving the balance between the everyday lives of these characters and that extra comedic push. Gabourey Sidibe isn’t just a side character either, she makes her presence known in this film and it’s great to see her on form again.

Based on the real experiences of Asta Phipot, who lives with arthrogryposis and was part of a documentary following his exploits in Spain at a legal brothel who caters to disabled people. The film brings to the forefront the very real needs and desires that we all, no matter who we are and does so in a very matter of fact way. There is something appealing about this story, especially as it’s a remake of the 2011 Belgian film Hasta La Vista which also spawned another remake, from the Netherlands, Adios Amigos released in 2016. This is a very human story about wants and needs wrapped up in a friendship road trip of discovery. Its not only refreshing to see disabled characters front and centre but to have a story that everyone can understand that everyone just wants to be treated like everyone else, no barriers.

Dir: Richard Wong

Prd: Jacqueline E. Ingram, Grant Rosenmeyer, Barrett Stuart

Scr: Erik Linthorst

Cast: Grant Rosenmeyer, Hayden Szeto, Ravi Patel, Gabourey Sidibe, Janeane Garofalo

DoP: Richard Wong

Music: Jeremy Turner

Year: 2020

Country: USA

Running time: 106 minutes

Come As You Are is released on Premium Video On Demand from 17th July, followed by digital download and keep from 10th August.