Directed by: Regan Linton and Brian Malone
Running Time: 77 minutes
“Imperfect” opens with Regan Linton’s morning routine of showering, putting makeup on and getting clothed, but it’s different from most. That’s because in college she was in a car accident that paralyzed her, forcing her to use a wheelchair to get around. Despite her disability, she continues to live and follow her dreams. According to her, her lifelong dream has always been acting and being on the silver screen, but her new focus in “Imperfect” is an entirely different beast, directing.
“Imperfect” follows Linton’s journey as she directs the musical “Chicago” in Denver with a cast made up entirely of people with disabilities. We see people from all walks of life come to audition, some with Parkinson’s, some with autism, and nearly every disability. However, instead of focusing on those disabilities, the documentary cleverly shows us the artistic process. That’s because we watch as art elevates everyone in the production regardless of challenges they face. We watch as Linton and her crew make accommodations or changes with production schematics so that some of the actors are able to come to life on stage.
As pointed out in the film and by Linton, audiences won’t see the disabilities, but instead will see the characters and stories they tell as long as they act as well as they promised they could at their auditions. While it is impossible to see past some of the actor’s disabilities, it makes the final product of the performance that much more impressive and heartwarming when everyone comes together and puts on a real banger of a show.
Outside of taking a behind-the-scenes look at this wholly unique production, we learn about some of the actors. Some have spent years working a basic job and have merely dreamed of being on a stage to get their big break while others actually have had a big break in Hollywood, but are still relegated to stereotypical roles suited for their disability, which in a lot of cases (as the film points out) is a damn shame. Some of these people have incredible talent, not only as actors, but as singers and dancers.
Not everything is inspiring and hopeful. At times we see the pain and frustration that comes with this overwhelming process, as well as how difficult the disabilities can be. Despite the film’s brief runtime, the film never wastes a second perfectly showing who these people are, what their talents, dreams and hopes are. It’s the kind of documentary that makes you upset you didn’t experience this production yourself. Despite its title, “Imperfect” is a near flawless look at a once-in-a-lifetime production.