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Understanding Alzheimer’s through film

January 17, 2020 - Friday 4:01 AM by Eva Aranas Angel

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I have deactivated my Facebook account indefinitely because I have to concentrate on many projects in 2020. I am still on Messenger. 

It find the absence in social media quite liberating. It has made me more productive and I have taken up on things I have put on the margins. Rest assured, I miss my newsfeeds and the fabulous life and lifestyle of my friends.

My absence on social media, however, has made me more involved with Alzheimer’s Disease and in my effort to make more and more people understand the disease, I have listed here some of the movies that deal with the subject. I hope you will find them useful. Take whatever is useful and disregard the overly schmaltzy and melodramatic.

The turn of the century has brought in a lot of changes in my life – both personal and professional. As you know, change can be disconcerting (that’s for the next issue).

So if you have time on your hands, explore the movies that might hit a raw nerve in your family dynamics, or perhaps, yourself.

Not only because it has Dame Judi Dench and Kate Winslet in it but also because the movie shows 
the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in an almost classic, clinical, and seamless storytelling. 
Combined with great acting bereft of sugarcoating and histrionics and surprising bursts of bright rays 
of light (think Tanging Yaman and The Notebook) , this is a notable movie worth watching. Yes, it is depressing but it’s telling it as it is. No more no less.

While peppered with the usual and common manifestations of Alzheimer’s Disease in both its early 
and late stages, there’s just too much romance in the flashbacks that distracts and misleads rather than 
engages the audience all in the name of cinematic license. In doing so, this movie might offer false
 hopes instead of truths. But there’s no denying Ryan Gosling is cute! LOL

While this makes for a more culture sensitive presentation of  Alzheimer’s Disease, somewhat 
closer to home and to our hearts, there are just too many twisted subplots. However, through it all, 
anyone who has a family member with Alzheimer’s Disease can relate with any one of its numerous, 
must-have-a-shining moment characters. 

This is, however, a good study in financial abuse or exploitation of  an older patient with dementia. Think Dina Bonnevie’s character and infantilizing  (i.e. this is how not to treat and deal with your 
Mother who has Alzheimer’s Disease. Think (the late) Johnny Delgado’s character in this movie.

ARRUGAS (Wrinkles)
I watched this movie during Pelickula, a Spanish film festival of movies from Spain, Argentina and the 
Basque, sponsored by Instituto Cervantes and Ayala Foundation in Greenbelt 3.
Presented in animation with real life emotions and heart wrenching storyline, this is what the production
company has to say. 

‘Based on Paco Roca's comic of the same title (2008 Spanish National Comic Prize), WRINKLES is a 
2D animated feature-length film for an adult audience. Wrinkles portrays the friendship between Emilio 
and Miguel, two aged gentlemen shut away in a care home. Recent arrival Emilio, in the early stages 
of Alzheimer, is helped by Miguel and colleagues to avoid ending up on the feared top floor of the c
are home, also known as the lost causes or "assisted" floor. Their wild plan infuses their otherwise 
tedious day-to-day with humor and tenderness, because although for some their lives are coming 
to an end, for them it is just a new beginning.’

Warning, this is a tearjerker. I never thought I’d cry over a 2D animation. But hey, it’s all about 
Alzheimer’s and nursing home placement. It’s so close to home.

This dark comedy is from Egypt. It tells about the ploy of the children to con their father of his 
wealth on account of the doctor’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. The language is Arabic but with 
English subtitles. A film enthusiast summarizes the movie as 
the slow mental deterioration of a loved one is extremely distressing. 
In this program, partners of Alzheimer's sufferers tell their stories, relive their challenges 
and daily struggles while living with this disease. Learn how spiritual guidance and God's presence, 
while dealing with a loved one can help lift the burden.

LIVE ONCE, LOVE TWICE ( Vivir Dos Veces)
Netflix says this movie is about Emilio, his daughter, and his granddaughter who embark on a crazy 
journey to find the love of his youth before he succumbs to Alzheimer's disease. Only to find out there’s 
a twist towards the end of the film. 

This movie initially released in 2019 debuted on Netflix about a week ago. It’s in Spanish with English
subtitles. I won’t say any spoilers but this film got mixed reviews and rated between one
 to four and a half stars. But among Google users, the rating is 96%. 
This is all I am saying about this latest film on Alzheimer’s on Netflix. Watch it and you be the judge.