From Best Boy to Best Man: a Compilation

From Best Boy to Best Man is a forty-two minute compilation that has been part of the University of Southern California's (USC) School of Social Work Curriculum for many years. This has also been the case with a multitude of other universities and colleges across the United States and Canada, where it is utilized as a teaching tool in their departments of social work, psychology, psychiatry, medicine and special education, among others.

From Best Boy to Best Man portrays Philip Wohl, a fifty year old developmentally disabled man, who has lived with and been dependent upon his elderly parents from birth. Utilizing twelve carefully chosen, stand alone segments taken from the films "Best Boy" and "Best Man" and presenting them in chronological order over a span that covers twenty years of Philip's life, one can follow his progress from daily life as it was for fifty years to entering a day program, moving into a group home, becoming integrated with his peers and ultimately taking advantage of the opportunity to live up to his full potential.  

As Associate Professor Heather Halperin at USC has suggested, "We selected this documentary compilation because it succinctly and sensitively demonstrates many of the complex and varied issues that exist within such families, not the least of which are the mixed feelings of parents who have built a life around the protection of their child but must eventually find the courage to let go. Only then can their child's life move forward and can they finally achieve peace of mind. Our staff has found the teaching of this film to be an invaluable tool, especially in terms of conveying to their students the complexity of emotions inherent in such delicate situations. Whether seen all at once, or segment by segment, its forty-two minute length leaves enough classroom time for both lecture and discussion. 

Furthermore, the simple joy we observe Philip feel as he grows from a 'boy' of fifty to a 'man' of seventy is both apparent and contagious. It is a remarkable reminder to students and all who see the film that there is always  hope for the future."