Don Quixote de la Center

It is Halloween at a group home for senior citizens in the rural town of La Center, Washington. Donald Quintero, an aging resident with dementia, is put in an improvised suit of armor for a Halloween party, and decides that he is a knight of old, viewing the world around him as a land of castles, giants, fair ladies, and evil sorcerers. At first, his antics are harmless–even therapeutic for the other residents–and the staff indulge Don’s fantasy, much to the dismay of his practical-minded son, Sam.

Then, Don’s delusions of knightly valor begin causing inadvertent harm, including wheelchair jousts against giants (a vending machine) and battles against infidels (cardboard Thanksgiving pilgrim decorations). When he convinces another resident that she is his paramour Dulcinea and she forsakes her real identity and no longer recognizes her husband of sixty years, the staff realizes Don has gone too far, and they choose to employ validation therapy to get through to Don, addressing him from inside the fantasy. When increasingly difficult “knightly challenges” cannot conquer the knight, Sam poses as the Knight of Mirrors to bring his father back to crushing reality. We are left wondering if the remaining fragments of the identity of Donald Quintero are truly better than the fantasy of Don Quixote.