There are some things which happen and you just don’t think it was sheer coincidence. One of these, was clicking play on a movie called Still Alice. I was on my first flight to the US and didn’t want to sleep on any part of the journey. Movies therefore seemed an interesting option. I watched one called Sideways and then settled next for Alice’s story without paying attention to the synopsis. This is my first review of any movie and I don’t know how I’ll fare. Anyway, am not after a grade, am after sharing with you gentle readers and followers, what I watched and felt with this movie. Let’s start with Alice of course.
Alice the protagonist
She (played by Julianne Moore) is an international linguistic professor, a mum of three, happily married, and ever so ambitious. She is so meticulous with every other thing including her body, which she tones out with an hour’s run every other day. Alice could very well be one of those mothers we refer to back in my country as ‘Mother General’. I am sure many of us will understand this slang even if it were not commonly used in your own countries. Alice and her movie foursome (uh huh she’s married to the cool Alec Baldwin), very well make up that “perfect family” living that “American Dream”. One thing however happens which makes Alice’s story captivating though with a good dose of pity and maybe empathy.
Alzheimer finds its way into Alice’s Life
As in most cases of a neurological, mental or even chronic illness like cancer, it is hard to understand both the “Why, and the Why me”. These questions start replacing Alice’s impressive oratory, as she begins to forget words, places, things and even planned events. She starts to fumble to put it this mildly, leaving her phone and shampoo in the fridge, her medication in the basement, and the thanksgiving turkey to turn to charcoal.
Alice’s life is almost shattered when she gets the diagnosis, and has to share the news with her family. First of all they are in shock, almost ‘shunning’ her, and then it gets worst because one of her daughters takes the test and is positive too. The gene has been handed down much to her chagrin. Alice thinks she has nothing to live for and seriously contemplates suicide by an overdose.
Supportive Family and Alzheimer Association
Alice by now has lost her teaching profession, and is almost losing her sanity. She cares-less about her body, hair or even Christmas. Fortunately, her husband is not prepared to lose her and thus starts informing himself of her condition. He accompanies her to hospital visits and employs a housekeep, then he reassures the family that all is not lost. Alice’s neurologist introduces her to an Alzheimer Association, and she gets to give a keynote address which though brief, is soulful.
It got me thinking
This was the first time I was watching any movie on Alzheimer. I have a dear granny in Israel called Jill, and her husband had Alzheimer. Oh my, is this what she endured? Could this happen to anyone even a highly educated professor of Alice’s caliber? Now, it matters not “why or why me” in the end right? As Alice puts it, Alzheimer brought with it a double ridicule. She felt ridiculous in the eyes of her family ( they wouldn’t believe at first that she was serious about what was going on – her husband said everybody forgets every now and then) and society as a whole, (the stigma and shame and even stares didn’t help), and she felt ridiculous about her own self.
I am not going to rate the movie, I am so touched once more. I am humbled and why not honoured to watch such a movie, and find the need and inspiration to do a review. I hope I have done it justice, but above all I hope that by so doing, I am contributing to the fight against the stigma of such despicable mental and physical conditions. Sufferers need more of love, empathy and support, than even those meds with their drastic side effects. It could be you or someone you love, never say never, and in the meantime make the best of the one life you have…