Planet of Snail
Time Out says
There’s Hollywood’s version of what goes into a good marriage—hot sex, a willingness to paint baby rooms, limitless funds for kitchen makeovers—and then there’s reality, which we observe in this quietly emotional and valuable documentary: patience, an ability to problem-solve, four hands for washing dishes. The South Korean subjects of Planet of Snail are physically challenged. Young-chan is both deaf and blind, but tall, able-bodied and handsome. His wife, Soon-ho, is half his height and twisted by a spinal condition. Together (with no need for narrative commentary or sentimental music) they have meals, go sledding, change lightbulbs, entertain friends and live life to the fullest.
The spirit of the movie is nonjudgmental, an observational intimacy that, in turn, becomes inspiring. (If as Young-chan says, the deaf-blind are close in soul to astronauts, then director Seung-jun Yi is an off-board camera taking in the cosmos.) After watching enough of the couple’s elaborate form of finger-tapping communication, you forget about the impediments; there are parks to explore, Hebrew exams to pass and literary competitions to enter. A slightly manufactured climax involving a temporary separation is a small hiccup in a flow that feels effortless. Maybe the two of them don’t feel the effort either. This is a perfect date movie.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf