In 2011, Boston filmmaker Will Lautzenheiser was on the verge of teaching his first film class. An innocuous visit to the doctor changed everything. What began as irritating leg pain ended up being a life-threatening infection. Within days, all of Will’s limbs were amputated.
While his tribulations don’t sound like the basis for a humorous, feel-good film, Robin Berghaus’s feature documentary is filled with surprises. This captivating portrait of patience, perseverance, and perspective explores the physical and emotional challenges that come with a sudden, life-altering event. It helps that Will is a distinctive personality whose first order of business after leaving the hospital is to perform stand-up comedy.
The film’s warmly honest, all-access approach allows viewers to experience one man’s struggle to regain independence. We watch as Will’s partner, Angel, adjusts to his new role as a caretaker. The dynamics of this sweet, difficult, and complicated relationship are illuminating and thought-provoking. Berghaus expertly balances multiple levels of human drama with fascinating details about the science and medicine behind transplant surgery. Stumped is an unexpected survival story that addresses issues of identity, diversity, and the strength of the human spirit.
— BRENDAN PETERSON
This film is a recipient of a Frameline Completion Fund Grant.
- Website: Official Website
- Premiere Status: West Coast