Growing up in Philadelphia, Lior Liebling had two strikes against him: he was born with Down syndrome, and his mother, Rabbi Devora Bartnoff, died when he was only six. As this lively video documentary makes clear, Lior's loving, supportive family helped him function at a high level and fired his devotion to God and Torah study, which culminate in his bar mitzvah. Veteran TV director-producer Ilana Trachtman creates a deep sense of intimacy, though her budget constraints are visible in some shots that feel staged (e.g. the multiple-angle setups when Lior and his father visit Bartnoff's grave). Still, Lior is an irrepressible character as he works a room, doing exactly what a bar mitzvah boy should: challenging, instructing, and, in his own way, healing the world. 87 min.
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