Pablo Pineda, the first student with Down’s syndrome in Europe to obtain a university degree, plays a fictitious version of his over-achieving self, Daniel, in Me, Too. As a new employer at the Disability Services office of Seville, Spain, 34-year-old Daniel quickly becomes enamored with workplace cock-tease Laura (the excellent Lola Dueñas), a spunky, chain-smoking peroxide blonde with bad roots who goes around saying she’s an orphan, even though she isn’t. Pablo’s Down syndrome is more quirky conduit than obstacle for their friendship, until it becomes obvious that Pablo wants more than what Laura can give.
Me, Too does a good job quietly arguing that normativity bears no guarantee for happiness, and that most of the drawbacks attached to disability are actually borne out of its stigma. While Daniel’s parents are well-to-do intellectuals who shower him with love and trust, Laura hasn’t seen her family in years and, as of late, ignores her sister’s numerous voicemail messages reporting the increasingly gloomy updates on their father’s health. Later we find out, rather subtly, the unspeakable event that led her to sever family ties.
During one of Laura’s many cigarette breaks, Daniel confesses to her that he doesn’t want to be her friend, but her boyfriend, “because you make me feel normal.” To which Laura replies, “Why would you want to be normal?” It’s precisely the recognition of this counter-intuitive human portrait (we’re all lonely and lacking) and strategy (do the most with what you got) that makes Daniel and Laura bond so effortlessly. They don’t allow political correctness to stultify their communication or social superego to dictate their intimacies. Not that everything will fall into place without hurting; in a both generous and perverse move, Laura eventually sleeps with Daniel, after telling him it will only happen once.
The film also features a fascinating love story between two of Daniel’s friends, Pedro (Daniel Parejo) and Luisa (Lourdes Naharro, director Antonio Naharro’s real-life sister), both Down syndrome lovers having a hard time keeping their sexual drives reigned in at their dance class rehearsals. Me, Too exposes our ignorance regarding this unlikely cinematic subject matter, while shaking up the presumed stability of taken-for-granted concepts like “normal.” Taking a cue from the fundamental concepts of queer theory, the film manages to un-blemish the presumed “abnormal” while asking if it isn’t “normality” itself that’s in dire need of a checkup.