This portrait of mentally challenged Lior Liebling, renowned within his tight-knit Jewish community for his closeness to God, is heartfelt but lacks context. The son of reconstructionist rabbis, Lior has Down syndrome; much of the film deals with the months prior to his bar mitzvah, especially his family’s concerns that the ritual may be beyond his abilities. Suggestions that Lior’s piety might be a childlike response to praise or projection by people aching for spiritual clarity come late and go by quickly—director Ilana Trachtman focuses more on issues of disability and inclusion than cultural perceptions of faith and devotion. But since Lior is of interest precisely because of his “spiritual genius,” not rigorously addressing such matters means only half his story is told.
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