When I Walk

Sundance Film Festival

Director: Jason DaSilva

The physical deterioration of the human body is a usually slow process, that, for those of us lucky enough to avoid an unnatural death, makes its final push towards immobility and death after we’ve had a chance to live a good 50 years or so. For talented filmmaker Jason DaSilva, that process took less than a decade after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 25.

When I Walk self-documents his entire journey with the crippling disease over the past 8 years in one of the most honest and sincere films ever to grace the Sundance silver screen. DaSilva takes the audience through his deeply personal and emotional story from the very beginning of his fight with MS, which was caught on home video during a family trip to the beach in 2006, where DaSilva is seen falling, and unable to get up, still smiling and laughing at his perceived clumsiness.

Director Jason DaSilva, Photo Credit: Sundance Institute

From there, DaSilva continues on with hope and courage as he loses the ability to walk, move his hands and even see, putting the camera and his artistic vision into the hands of his friends and family. I have seen documentaries about disabilities and disease, but never like this.

When I Walk isn’t some socio-political pity party with an agenda. DaSilva lays open his life to us so honestly, from his search for a cure and his fear of losing his art, to the physical and emotional struggles between him and his loved ones, leaving us with respect, admiration and newfound empathy and understanding for those with physical disabilities.

The only thing that seems contrived in this entire film is how absolutely adorable DaSilva’s mother is. As she’s often heard saying, “We only live one life”––and When I Walk is definitely worth the short time we have.