As it chronicles its protagonist’s dogged attempts to enter a successful romantic relationship, the film reveals an agenda much deeper than discussing Asperger’s syndrome or the broader autistic spectrum.
At its heart, “Aspie Seeks Love” is a parable about loneliness — a condition which afflicts everyone at some point in their lives and for far too many proves incurable. Matthews, the titular Aspie, spends the bulk of the film trying to avoid.
The stigma and sexual frustration caused by being involuntarily single are certainly painful enough, but the existential anguish of loneliness is perhaps the greatest scourge of the human condition.
Asperger’s Syndrome may have been the specific impediment in Matthews’ search for love, but there are millions of other lonely people in the world held back for a wide variety of other reasons — physical unattractiveness, an inability to have the social status necessary to be considered desirable as a mate, the emotional scars of past abuse and rejection.
A Pennsylvania writer and artist who wasn’t diagnosed with AS until he was 41, Matthews possesses all of the tell-tale signs of high-functioning autism — remarkable intelligence, social awkwardness, a wealth of personality tics and other idiosyncrasies.
We know that we are varied bunch of doctors, writers, lawyers and professionals. In that sense, “Aspie Seeks Love” is as much a critique of American dating culture as it is a portrait of high-functioning autism.