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Film / We Too Together

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We Too Together is a 2021 film written and directed by Deborah Hadfield.

Rob Hardy (Cengiz Dervis) is an autistic martial arts instructor. He falls in love with Gabriela Popa (Silvia Busuioc), the first woman to love him as he is, but his lack of self-acceptance and his desire to please his father Carl (Nigel Lowe) threatens to destroy their relationship. Flashbacks to when Rob was a child (Jake Levitt) show his relationship with Carl, a Shell-Shocked Veteran whom Rob barely knew until he was discharged when Rob was ten, and Carl's struggles to be a good father.

We Too Together contains examples of:

  • Bully Magnet: Rob's stutter gets him beaten up a lot as a kid. He first gets into martial arts because Carl has him take lessons so he can defend himself.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: A therapist has Rob wear headphones playing music so she can discuss his diagnosis with Carl.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Rob's childhood martial arts teacher used to be a professional fighter, until someone broke his legs. At first he was despondent, but he eventually grew to love teaching.
  • Cry into Chest: Ten-year-old Rob cries into Carl's chest in several scenes, including after Carl rescues him from bullies, and after he becomes overwhelmed by a recording a psychologist was using to test his sensory sensitivities.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Carl is still disappointed that Rob didn't go into the forces, like Carl and his father did. He derides martial arts as "play fighting." Rob eventually caves and starts training under Carl's old captain, Paul. Gabriela is horrified that he would be willing to fight in a war, when her parents were killed in a war when she was a child, and dumps him. Rob realizes that doing what he loves is more important than pleasing his father and goes back to his martial arts career.
  • I Am What I Am: Carl hates being labelled and seen as different, and projects that onto Rob, whom he has told never to tell anyone he's autistic. At the end of the movie, Rob gives Carl a speech about how being autistic is who he is and there's nothing wrong with the word.
    Rob: There's nothing wrong with being special. I'm proud of who I am. Why can't you be proud of me, too?
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Gabriela's brother Alexander (Luke Christian) takes this trope to an extreme. He doesn't want his sister dating an autistic guy, and gives Rob the usual speech about how he'll kill him if he hurts her. Then he invites Rob into his car and starts driving around very fast in order to intimidate him. Later, he even shows up at the dojo with some goons to beat Rob up, but Rob has little difficulty defending himself. Then Gabriela arrives and orders them to stop fighting, after which they form an uneasy truce.
  • Meet the In-Laws: Rob invites both Gabriela and Carl to his birthday lunch. The two take an instant dislike to each other - Carl is convinced that Gabriela will never love Rob and will inevitably break his heart, while Gabriela, a pacifist, hates how Carl is constantly trying to pressure Rob into a military career.
  • Parental Substitute: After his mother died of cancer, Rob was mostly raised by his aunt Sarah, who was like a mother to him.
  • Sensory Overload: Ten-year-old Rob covers his ears and cries during a fireworks display.
  • Speech Impediment: As a child, Rob has a severe stutter. It mostly goes away with the help of speech therapy.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Rob wears a medallion that belonged to his mother, which his father gave him when he was a kid.
  • Working Out Their Emotions: Rob copes with stress and anxiety by working out at the dojo.