39 Pounds of Love: The Story of Ami Ankilewitz

Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Ami Ankilewitz wasn't expected to live past age 6. Now in his mid-30s, the tiny, wheelchair-dependent survivor decides to visit the Texas doctor who made that damning diagnosis, in "39 Pounds of Love."

With:
With: Ami Ankilewitz.

Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Ami Ankilewitz wasn’t expected to live past age 6. Now in his mid-30s, the tiny, wheelchair-dependent survivor — who currently lives in Israel — decides to visit the Texas doctor who made that damning diagnosis, in “39 Pounds of Love.” Dani Menkin’s documentary tracks his odyssey, which by nature is hard to be cynical about. Still, the feature feels padded even at 70 minutes. It’s slotted for a late-fall limited U.S. theatrical release before settling into a more natural berth on cable.

Celebrating his 34th birthday in Tel Aviv, Ami — a computer animator whose rather pedestrian avian-romance whimsy is intercut throughout — announces he’s going on a road trip. Decision seems propelled by the emotional fallout created when he parted ways with his pretty 21-year-old Romanian live-in caretaker. As Ami’s frightened parents predicted, the trans-Atlantic and cross-country trip (in an RV with several helpmates) taxes his fragile health. But he makes it from Los Angeles to Miami, confronting the now-retired, bewildered doctor in a somewhat anticlimactic scene. Technically adequate pic hits the desired plucky/inspirational notes in a pat way, sometimes unnecessarily stretching out uninspired footage.

39 Pounds of Love: The Story of Ami Ankilewitz

Production: An HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films presentation of a Hey Jude production in association with Priddy Brothers Entertainment. Produced by Dani Menkin, Daniel J. Chalfen. Executive producers, John Priddy, Ed Priddy, David Gil, John Matlick, Lynn Roth. Directed by Dani Menkin.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Yoav Kleinman; editors, Sam Bauer, Geoffrey O'Brien, Pablo Petschek; music, Chris Gubisch. Reviewed on videocassette, San Francisco, Oct. 23, 2005. (In Mill Valley Film Festival.) English, Hebrew dialogue. Running time: 70 MIN.

With: With: Ami Ankilewitz.

More Film

  • Ingmar Bergman 100th Birthday Anniversary.

    Ingmar Bergman's Centennial: A Time to Celebrate Joy of Filmmaking

    Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Ami Ankilewitz wasn’t expected to live past age 6. Now in his mid-30s, the tiny, wheelchair-dependent survivor — who currently lives in Israel — decides to visit the Texas doctor who made that damning diagnosis, in “39 Pounds of Love.” Dani Menkin’s documentary tracks his odyssey, which […]

  • CAA Promotes Eric Schonberg to Agent

    CAA Promotes Eric Schonberg to Agent

    Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Ami Ankilewitz wasn’t expected to live past age 6. Now in his mid-30s, the tiny, wheelchair-dependent survivor — who currently lives in Israel — decides to visit the Texas doctor who made that damning diagnosis, in “39 Pounds of Love.” Dani Menkin’s documentary tracks his odyssey, which […]

  • The Indoraptor prepares to strike in

    Box Office: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Stomps to $15.3 Million on Thursday Night

    Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Ami Ankilewitz wasn’t expected to live past age 6. Now in his mid-30s, the tiny, wheelchair-dependent survivor — who currently lives in Israel — decides to visit the Texas doctor who made that damning diagnosis, in “39 Pounds of Love.” Dani Menkin’s documentary tracks his odyssey, which […]

  • Sinemia Introduces Family Plans, Challenging MoviePass

    Movie Ticketing Service Sinemia Introduces Family Plans

    Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Ami Ankilewitz wasn’t expected to live past age 6. Now in his mid-30s, the tiny, wheelchair-dependent survivor — who currently lives in Israel — decides to visit the Texas doctor who made that damning diagnosis, in “39 Pounds of Love.” Dani Menkin’s documentary tracks his odyssey, which […]

  • Longtime Disney Executive Mark Endemano Steps

    Longtime Disney Executive Mark Endemano Steps Down

    Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Ami Ankilewitz wasn’t expected to live past age 6. Now in his mid-30s, the tiny, wheelchair-dependent survivor — who currently lives in Israel — decides to visit the Texas doctor who made that damning diagnosis, in “39 Pounds of Love.” Dani Menkin’s documentary tracks his odyssey, which […]

  • Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo ChatrianNew Berlinale

    Mariette Rissenbeek, Carlo Chatrian to Become Co-Chiefs of Berlin Film Festival

    Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Ami Ankilewitz wasn’t expected to live past age 6. Now in his mid-30s, the tiny, wheelchair-dependent survivor — who currently lives in Israel — decides to visit the Texas doctor who made that damning diagnosis, in “39 Pounds of Love.” Dani Menkin’s documentary tracks his odyssey, which […]

  • Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin

    'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' to Be First U.S. Indie Title Released in Saudi Arabia

    Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Ami Ankilewitz wasn’t expected to live past age 6. Now in his mid-30s, the tiny, wheelchair-dependent survivor — who currently lives in Israel — decides to visit the Texas doctor who made that damning diagnosis, in “39 Pounds of Love.” Dani Menkin’s documentary tracks his odyssey, which […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content