Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” is very good at putting the audience inside the mind of an autistic 12-year-old and seeing what that life is like. Ricky (an affecting Jesus Sanchez-Velez) is the son of illegal immigrants who wanders away from school one day and climbs aboard the New York City subway system. Off his medication and without the guidance of his older sister, he rides train after train all over the seven boroughs, growing increasingly despondent.
Meanwhile, his mother (Andrea Suarez Paz) frantically searches the city for her wayward boy. His father, Ricardo (Tenoch Huerta), is away for work and tensions grow as he is unable to return and assist in the search. Sister Carla (Azul Zorrilla) is a typical distracted teenager, more concerned with boys and clothes than looking after her troublesome brother.
Director Sam Fleischner and screenwriters Rose Lichter-Marck and Micah Bloomberg go long on pretty cinematography and Ricky’s rambling inner monologue, and shorter on narrative than I would’ve liked. The film takes on a rambling feel, and the emotional punch of this poor lost boy doesn’t land as hard as it could have.
It’s a beautiful-looking picture, however, and the cast — most of them making their film debut — are authentic and convincing.