KEEP THE CHANGE Is a Keeper [Blu-ray Review]

The sweet romantic comedy about a couple on the spectrum is now out from Kino Lorber.

Sarah (Samantha Elisofon) and David (Brandon Polansky) share an unexpected meet-cute moment in Keep the Change; they are paired together for a project through a summer program at the Jewish Community Center. David’s off-putting brashness and raunchy sense of humor clash with Sarah’s easy-going, affectionate nature. It seems they have little in common… except they are both on the autism spectrum.

Rachel Israel’s feature film, based on her original 2013 short, centers around a cast of actors with autism or Asperger Syndrome. This means a performer such as Nicky Gottlieb, who looks like a familiar face but counts only one previous IMDB credit to his name, has a chance to play Sammy, an openly-gay character directing the summer program’s variety show. Scene-stealer Sammy confesses a crush on David’s actor cousin, saying, “He’s as fancy on the inside as he is on the outside.” Keep the Change is full of many such laugh-out-loud moments. Indeed, David has a line throwing shade at Rain Man that made me guffaw.

Director Israel says her film was inspired by her friendship with Polansky and his real-life story of finding love through such a program for autistic adults. His character lives with his parents (Jessica Walter plays his snobby mother), and their concern grows as David becomes more involved with this new community of friends (and the girlfriend). As it delves into the burgeoning romance between Sarah and David, Israel’s film explores themes of connection, acceptance, and independence.

Jessica Walter and Tibor Feldman in KEEP THE CHANGE.

Despite a moment or two of continuity weirdness, Keep the Change is a groundbreaking film with an authentic voice. Elisofon is charming as all get out as Sarah, Polansky makes the somewhat abrasive character of David grow on the viewer, and Jessica Walter is impeccable as always. This sweetly awkward film is a must-see for any rom-com fan, and here’s hoping more on-screen opportunities follow for these talented actors.

Keep the Change is now available on BluRay from Kino Lorber. Special features include:

  • deleted scenes
  • the 2013 short (which also stars Elisofon & Polansky, but not Walter)
  • the theatrical trailer
  • a ReelAbilities Film Festival post-screening Q&A with director Israel, along with actors Polansky and Elisofon

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