4 Wheel Bob 2018
Distributed by Tritone Films, 4430 Jana Vista Road, El Sobrante, CA 94803
Produced by Tal Skloot
Directed by Tal Skloot
DVD , color, 88 min.
High School - General Adult
Hiking, People with Disabilities
Date Entered: 07/23/2018Reviewed by Sophie M. Forrester, Reed Library, State University of New York at Fredonia
4 Wheel Bob introduces Bob Coomber, a hiker and parks advocate who attempts to be the first wheelchair user to hike the Kearsarge Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. At first, the story seems to veer dangerously close to what disabled activists deride as inspiration porn: the use of disabled people to make abled people feel good, without regard to their own feelings. But Bob dispels this concern, explaining that he intends to inspire other wheelchair users, not abled viewers.
The film also emphasizes that Bob is a fully realized human being, not an object to be admired. A local official notes that in his position on a citizens’ advisory committee, Bob acts not as “a disability advocate [but as] a trails advocate,” and Bob’s daughter and wife ground him in his family life. Ultimately, the film comes off as the story of a hiker who happens to use a wheelchair, rather than the story of a wheelchair user who happens to hike.
As a result, it extends its appeal beyond viewers looking for films on disabilities and disabled people to those looking for films on hiking, trails, and parks. It is recommended for public libraries, as well as academic libraries looking to expand their film collection in either area.