In a world where disabilities are the taboo topic of the school playground and the lesser-known conversation at work, Rob Burnett’s The Fundamentals of Caring omits a feeling that it is no longer a time where we are split into groups of ‘them’ and ‘us’ and that disability should not define or restrict us in life.
The current portrayal of disability is that they are dictated by a routine of medication taking and are helpless victims to their illness. Trevor, presented by Welsh actor Craig Roberts, has muscular dystrophy but by the end of the film his actions and personality have a fierce contrast to the old-fashioned views that we are fed as a society.
His physical restrictions suggest a lifestyle of being the helpless victim who requires around the clock attention and support, however Burnett successfully swerves the Hollywood presentation of the world’s disabled in a laughable and impressive manner.
The arrival of Ben (Paul Rudd) as an inexperienced carer comes as a positive to Trevor as they embark on an emotionally rewarding journey around America. Priro to Ben’s arrival Trevor’s lifestyle consisted of making sexual comments about weathergirls, spending the majority of his time in his living room and eating a diet that consists of precisely one sausage and two waffles.
But Ben’s arrival as Trevor’s new carer is the beginning of a journey that sees their relationship grow and prosper.
As they travel throughout America Trevor develops social skills that he did not know before leaving the comforts of his home. He forms a close friendship with Trevor and develops a shining relationship with aspiring Art student Dot (Selena Gomez) who falls for the wheelchair-bound youngster due to her tendancy to have “a thing for assholes.”
His confidence grows throughout the journey and soon enough he begins to realise that his life is no longer restricted, that he can enjoy the activities that his peers undertake and that he is not forced to live a limited life despite his ilness.
In a time when many people still believe that the disabled are restricted and unable to live as high a quality lifestyle, Burnett’s production shows that there is hope for those who have serious ilnesses and they should believe that they are not restricted entirely by their disability.