This is the kind of documentary that, though not particularly accomplished by way of direction, writing, or editing, has such a compelling subject that there's no question about its worth. 39 Pounds is the story of Ami Ankilewitz, a 34-year-old man who suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy. A year after he was born, when Ami was diagnosed, the doctor gave him five years to live. Now, though he weighs a shocking 39 pounds (he looks, essentially, like a skeleton), Ami survives, and survives with a tenacity of spirit that is both inspiring and exasperating for those around him. The film chronicles two important events in Ami's life: his relationship with his caregiver and a trip across the United States. Director Dani Menkin paints a very loving portrait, but he far overdoes the sentiment. The material is already emotionally laden; a frank and direct approach would serve best. Still, Ami is such a riveting subject, and his journey so dramatic, that we can't help but feel invested.
Director: Dani Menkin
Writer: Ilan Heitner and Dani Menkin
Producer: Daniel J. Chalfen and Dani Menkin