What do you do when your responsibilities are at odds with another person’s freedoms? What wins out when you’re asked to balance someone’s safety against their free will? Are we meant to be responsible for one another? To what degree? Can that degree change?
These are just a few of the questions at play in Jimmy Olsson’s fantastic new short film ALIVE.
In ALIVE, Victoria is a woman living with a disability. After meeting her caregiver’s boyfriend on a walk, Victoria confesses to her loneliness and desire for intimacy. “Your boyfriend is very handsome,” she says by way of introducing to the topic. “I’d like to borrow him.”
While caregiver Ida isn’t keen on sharing, she understands Victoria’s needs and suggests the two of them make her a Tinder profile. But when Victoria matches with a man who suggests a private meet-up at Victoria’s house, Ida begins to wonder if it’s a good idea.
“What if he does something to her, something she doesn’t want?” Ida asks her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend doesn’t seem as concerned. “She’s a grown woman, and she can do whatever she wants.”
And what Victoria wants is something we can all understand. She wants to make her own choices, meet someone new. She wants to feel alive.
I cannot stress enough just how much I loved this challenging, beautiful film. Writer/director Jimmy Olsson poses big questions about intimacy, ableism, and supporting others and then lets the struggle to find answers play out over the twenty-minute film.
Olsson has created a fascinating scenario where no one is exactly right and no one is quite wrong. If this Tinder stranger turns out to be someone other than he seems, there is a chance Victoria won’t be able to defend herself. And yet, women without a disability make these same choices without being questioned. Just because the specifics of Victoria’s life are different than others doesn’t mean she is any less capable of making decisions and having new experiences.
And yet Ida is sympathetic as well. She knows her charge can make her own decisions, but what of the dangers? Is it morally right to leave a woman with limited mobility alone with a stranger? As the one who suggested Tinder in the first place, will she be held responsible if anything goes wrong?