How we all love a ‘journey’. We have reality TV to blame for this, but the literal and emotional voyage that gives this sweet, touching and often funny doc its shape resists any temptation to overegg the self-discovery pudding. The movie – profits go to Mencap – aims both to entertain and raise awareness of learning disabilities. It follows filmmaker William Spicer, his sister, journo Kate, and their brother Tom on a quest to meet Lars Ulrich, drummer of US metal titans Metallica.
Tom has Fragile X syndrome, a form of autism, and has long been driving Kate to distraction by endlessly repeating ‘Wanna meet Lars’. After 20 years, his siblings decide to make it happen and so drive a hired motor home to Metallica tour dates in Las Vegas, Sacramento and Anaheim for the momentous encounter.
But America is a long way from home in Wootton Bassett, and Tom finds change, crowds and lack of routine challenging; at one point, he seems unlikely to get on the plane. All of which makes the outcome doubly satisfying. But there’s more at play than a feelgood factor, as William and Kate are forced to examine their own reasons for making the trip. However well-intentioned, giving, they realise, is also taking.