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HBO doc “Monica & David” celebrates Down syndrome romance

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Monica and David

Monica & David, one of the year's most-hyped documentaries, finally sees its world premiere airing on HBO this Thursday. It's the story of true love among two people living with Down syndrome (a.k.a. Down's syndrome in the U.K.) and critics are hailing it as a rare example of a positive story about people with disabilities. Newsweek says the film opens with the wedding and continues through the happily-ever-after, sticking with the positive elements of married life as opposed to the strife and complications.

He met her in class and was instantly smitten. She rejected him at first because she had a boyfriend, but he persisted. Now they’re married, and completely stuck on each other. He calls her his Winnie the Pooh, and he’s her Prince Charming. The rub, because all love stories come with one, is that both Monica and David have Down syndrome. Marriages between people with Down syndrome were unheard of in the mid-’80s, when the life expectancy for those with the disorder was 25.

They take cooking classes so they can have romantic dinners together. They fantasize about getting jobs as cashiers or baggers at a nearby grocery store. You’d be forgiven for forgetting they even have Down syndrome, as they seem to forget themselves. When asked, David says he has it “sometimes, not all the time.” [Newsweek]

If you're getting choked up a bit, as I did, by reading about their dreams of a simple life as grocery store employees, you probably won't want to watch the documentary… or this trailer.