On the surface, Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles' documentary Dina is a simple story about a middle-aged woman with Asperger's syndrome who's built a community with her neurodiverse pals and is about to celebrate her upcoming wedding. But as the directors trail Dina and her fiance Scott to the beach and the store and the local putt-putt, a nuanced portrait about desire, disappointment and betrayal emerges, revealing that the sweet Dina yearns for a deeper physical and emotional connection than Scott may be able to provide.
At the beach, Dina tries gifting Scott The Joy of Sex. The two haven't had sex -- they've barely kissed -- so she's eager to share her thoughts and fantasies with him. Though she's off at a million words per minute, we see her showing remarkable patience as she reads about removing semen stains from clothing to her confused but not disinterested fiance. She wants and needs him to understand intercourse, and though the scene of cleaning instructions could seem a little silly, Dina's openness is kind of stirring.
We hear the groom's side of the story as he shoots the shit in his pal's car. Needing his own physical space is just part of his "Aspy" life, so her intimacy pushes his limits, but he's also fearful of doing something wrong and hurting Dina. That fear comes off at first as an inexperienced man's irrational thoughts. But the more snippets we see of Dina's past, including previous romances, the more we understand his fears. It's a wonder that this woman is so passionately ready to jump into love again. Dina is a story about resilience and a woman's indomitable will to seek out her best life.