Review

Documentary 'Dina' explores love and marriage on the spectrum

Dina Buno and Scott Levin are 40ish Philadelphians preparing for their wedding and poised to embark on a marriage that’s bound to be filled with its share of joys and challenges. That makes them pretty much like any other couple save one not-so-small thing: Dina and Scott both have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Their rocky road to love and acceptance — of themselves and of each other — is warmly, involvingly captured by filmmakers Daniel Sickles and Antonio Santini in the beguiling documentary “Dina.”

The movie’s vérité style intimately draws us into the plucky, if beleaguered, lives of Dina and Walmart staffer Scott and their relationship’s trials and tribulations, many of which are a result of their disparate levels of autism: The forthright, long-widowed Dina seems less acutely affected by her disability than the awkward Scott.

Sickles (whose late father was a friend of Dina’s) and Santini effectively reveal their stars’ histories in organic bits and pieces, with a harrowing 911 call from the night of Dina’s near-fatal stabbing in 2010 by a troubled ex-boyfriend adding late-breaking detail.

From the mundane to the eventful, the movie takes a fairly unflinching, yet respectful view of Dina and Scott’s world, which includes family, friends, hobbies, home life, trips, rituals and old Top 40 songs. The newlyweds’ out-of-sync sexuality is handled with poignant candor.

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‘Dina’

Not rated.

Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes.

Playing: Landmark Nuart Theatre, West L.A.

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