Tonight is Oscar Night, and the smart money is on Julianne Moore to win the Best Actress statuette for her riveting role as a woman facing down Younger Onset Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice.
I, for one, hope she wins. Her portrayal is authentic, moving and as human as they come. And a win for her would further bolster the much-needed awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s that Still Alice has been bringing to this disease as of late.
I watched her performance in awe last week, when I attended the opening night screening at the Manor Theater (with whom we’ve partnered to help promote the movie). Of course, I made sure to arrive a few minutes earlier than usual so I could catch The Ivey’s new 30-second commercial up on the Silver Screen! And once the film began, one of the many things that struck me was how true-to-life it is. We have members at The Ivey living with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s and I can tell you that the filmmakers truly captured the circumstances, issues, feelings, dynamics and complications that memory loss brings to those living with it and the families surrounding them.
I don’t want to give away too much (no “spoiler alerts” here!), but I do want to offer my kudos to the film’s makeup artists. Now normally if you leave a movie talking about the makeup, something’s wrong…like seeing a play and then complimenting the sets and costumes. But in this case, the work they did perfectly complimented the Oscar-worthy performance of the star. As Moore descends deeper and deeper into the disease, she transforms physically before our eyes. She goes from a vision of vibrancy and life, to someone we do not recognize. But she’s Alice. Indeed, she is still Alice, at every moment.
This is such a crucial lesson for all of us. When we see changes happening to the physical appearance of our loved ones living with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, it can play tricks on our minds and our hearts. We think they are disappearing on us. But they’re not. We think they don’t see us or know us or hear what we say, much less understand us, but they do. They are still very much here, experiencing life differently, mostly through touch and the feeling of love. Love conquers all barriers.
For so many reasons, I hope you’ll go see this movie while it’s playing here in Charlotte for the next few weeks. As part of our mission to be a leader in dementia care, support, resources and education for the Charlotte community, The Ivey is pleased to offer you FREE movie passes to see Still Alice.
And good luck to Julianne Moore at this evening’s awards ceremony!
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