“Keep The Change”
A Love Story
“Keep the Change”, directed and written by Rachel Israel is about the challenges a couple has with building face-to-face personal relationships in and out of their private worlds.
After being court-mandated punishment for making one of his trademark inappropriate jokes to a police officer, 30-year-old David (Brandon Polansky)is ordered to attend Connections, a New York City organization for autistic men and women. Wearing a blazer and dark sunglasses, David feels out of place in this community of strangers who he sees as “weirdos.” Yet we also see that David is tricking himself into believing he’s somehow superior. Things take an unexpected turn for David when he’s forced to work on a Brooklyn Bridge project with fellow Connections member Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), who claims that she has autism and a “learning disability,” and who’s prone to expressing herself via streams of colloquialisms. David’s aggravation turns to love, however, after he and Sarah spend time together, and she confesses that she finds him “really smoking hot and so sexy.” Love soon blossoms via clumsy bear-hug kisses and bedroom sex. However, their budding relationship isn’t without its ups and downs.
The film follows David and Sarah’s affair with a sweetness while at the same time using comedy that comes out of their conditions and which often leads them to say inapt or peculiar things at random moments. The film doesn’t mock their idiosyncrasies; it celebrates them in all their forms. That extends to the raft of acquaintances David meets while at Connections, who in most cases are (like David and Sarah) are played by autistic amateur actors who are all the more charming for being so unaffected.
Uninhibited and yet often innocent and unaware, Elisofon is an endearingly, while Polansky captures a moving sense of David’s desire to be “normal” (something at least partially acquired from his parents) and his simultaneous yearning to be understood and accepted.
The film is a subtle political statement about autism but it is not a polemic statement. We see the bond that David and Sarah share as totally normal and perfectly weird.