Learning Difficulty





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Learning Difficulties (Mental Retardation): Major Films   no photo.
TitleBonds of Love (1992) (TV Film)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityLearning Difficulty
DirectorLarry Elikann
CastKelly McGillis Treat Williams Grace Zabriskie Hal Holbrook
NotesSet in the State of Kansas Treat Williams plays Robbie a man with learning difficulties. Dumped on the road by his friends as a joke he's picked up by Rose (McGillis). Robbie lives at home with his parents and his brother is a cop who thinks he should be in a home. The parents have promised never to put Robbie in an institution. He cuts lawns, rakes leaves and has worked in a restaurant. Robbie tells his parents he is in love. But Rose is considered a loose woman. she's has two husbands, been a heavy drinker and Welfare have taken her kids away. The cop brother goes around and threatens her. She decides she has to leave town, and Robbie wants to go with her. Rose's excuses for her reputation are that her first husband drank and beat the kids. She started drinking and married another drunk. Having gone away with Rose he misses his family, gets drunk and hits her. He goes to the doctor who refers to him as "retarded" which Robbie disagrees with. However the two of them get a place of their own but the cops turn up with a subpoena. Fortunately the neighbours turn out to help and Robbie is saved from being wrongfully taken away. The brother who has been abusing his authority petitions to be Robbie's legal guardian. Robbie and Rose get legal aid to fight this. Robbie is assessed as having an I.Q. of 58 and mild retardation. His family have kept him from any kind of training. In court given the choice of his brother, Rose or an independent person as his guardian Robbie can't decide. Generally he doesn't discriminate in his affection for people. While he can stay with Rose for the time being the judge gives guardianship to the brother orders that he go into an institution for training. But Robbie is upset by having to mix with 'retarded' people. I'm not convinced Rose is suitable for him. It is difficult to understand her motives except that she is vunerable. She gives her reasons which are that he is good to her and she loves him. But when Robbie's affections are so indiscriminately sown you get the impression he would ask the first woman he knew romantically to marry him. The cop brother turns up at their appartment and 'abducts' Robbie as his guardian. But they get a hearing to challenge the guardianship. Judge wants intelligence and psychological tests to see if Robbie understands what marriage is. An initial condition is that he lives in an institute. This place is clearly for severely disturbed patients and Robbie becomes hysterical. Robbie's responses to questions appear to suggest he is not capable of living independently or of normal social relationships. At a centre among (real) disabled people he shouts "I'm not retarded" but later when they are the subject of abuse he helps them. At the final court hearing the family accept the marriage and that they can live together. While the brother claims he did what he did because he loved Robbie. This reconciliation is not quite convincing. The film does give a viewer enough detail to decide what Robbie's capabilities are and you are quite likely to disagree with my reservations. Both Williams and McGillis are good in their parts and I would recommend this film as good discussion material.

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