Keep the Change: New Rom-Com Changes the Autism Conversation

Article by Michelle Collins

One cool thing about pop-culture TV shows, such as the A-Word on BBC or ABC's The Good Doctor, exploring different facets of autism is that they help steer the conversation away from the topic of what an autistic person needs help or intervention with - conversations which can potentially become all-consuming for those who love someone on the spectrum, and who want to do everything they can for that person. Instead, these programs encourage the wider public to open up dialog about autistic people living their lives just as individually and uniquely as anyone not on the spectrum might live their life - with all the reasonable successes and failures that anyone on or off the spectrum could expect. But what separates the A-Word and The Good Doctor from the 2018 film, Keep the Change, is that they cast non-autistic actors in the roles of autistic people, whereas the writer and producers of Keep the Change cast autistic actors playing the roles of autistic people. Another difference is that Keep the Change focuses on the lead characters navigating their romance, not on them navigating how to be autistic while fitting into the broader non-autistic world. Click here for a link to the movie trailer to Keep the Change, described as "a charming and hilarious rom-com about people with autism, starring people with autism" by bit.ly/ktcdates.

While the film is not in currently wide-release, playing now in New York and opening on April 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, the conversation this romantic comedy sparks is wide-ranging as it explores autism along the spectrum with three different autistic people cast in the roles of autistic people, each with their own quirks - quirks which aren't necessarily the stereotypical extraordinary ones that the media generally depicts with autism. In other words, not everyone on the spectrum is a math genius, and in Keep the Change, you get a chance to see each individual as an individual and not as a stereotype of a person on the spectrum.

Keep the Change Awards and Details

  • Best U.S. Narrative Feature – Tribeca Film Festival
  • Best New Narrative Director – Tribeca Film Festival
  • Special Mention, Nora Ephron Prize – Tribeca Film Festival
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 93 minutes
  • Color Type: Color
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Country: U.S.
  • Language: English
  • Genres: Romantic Comedy
  • Written and Directed by Rachel Israel
  • Starring Brandon Polansky, Samantha Elisofon, and Jessica Walter