Best Man: `best Boy' And All Of Us Twenty Years Later

on September 11, 1997 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
With his 1977 Oscar winning documentary "Best Boy," Ira Wohl won worldwide plaudits for his study of his mentally retarded cousin, Philly. But what happened to the then-50-year-old Philly, his parents and sister Frances? That question prompted Wohl, who had left filmmaking for a career in psychology, to revisit Philly, as the 70-year-old prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish rite of passage into manhood.
Sadly, Philly's parents have since died and he's been placed in a special home. But fortunately, Frances is still around and his new lodgings are bright and cheery. Philly has aged remarkably well and remains his optimistic, pleasant self.
Compared to its predecessor, "Best Man" is unfocused-we don't see Philly prepare for his Bar Mitzvah until an hour into the film-but Wohl's compassionate camera once again brings out the warmth and genuineness of Philly's life. It's heart-warming in the best sense of the word. Starring Philip Wohl and Frances Reiss. Produced, written and directed by Ira Wohl. Documentary. Running time: 90 min.
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