On Sunday, my husband, son, daughter-in-law and I went to see Still Alice. If you have been following this blog you know that I have told everyone to read the book. It took me a very long time to read the book, because as I saw myself in the pages, it scared me. "Alice" was (is) me. I would read a little, put it down for days, pick it back up only to put it back down immediately. When I finally finished it I was so glad the book had been written -- it so aptly described my life and those living with Alzheimer's disease.
My family had not read the book before we saw the movie. I was anxious to see their reaction and to gauge my own.
My reaction -- at first I thought someone "had hit me in the gut". Watching Alice cope with things, knowing what was going through her mind was wrenching for me. The words she spoke were the exact same words I have spoken to my family or friends. It was almost scary to see it -- to have her feel what you have felt and not being able to communicate it to others. It is very moving -- I didn't cry until close to the end. It was when Alice's daughter gives birth to twins and Alice goes to visit her in the hospital. When she asks to hold the baby her son-in-law gives his wife a look as if he is saying "is she capable of holding the baby?". Alice very quickly says "I know how to hold a baby" and the new father gives her one of the babies to hold. This got to me because I have had this same scenario in my mind many times. My son and his wife don't have children yet, but I have silently worried that if and when they do -- they won't feel as if I will be capable of holding the baby or being an appropriate grandmother. After that scene, the floodgates opened for me. There were many tears in the theatre that day. I was emotionally spent after the movie.
At the end the screen goes white and people literally just sat in their seats and stared at the screen. It was very emotional.
On the way back to my son's house, not much was said in the car. Everyone was just trying to digest what they had seen. Since they hadn't read the book, I think the impact of the movie was pretty strong.
Many who read this blog don't actually know me -- but if you see Still Alice -- you will know me. Thanks to Lisa Genova, the author of Still Alice (and a friend of mine) for writing such an epic novel. She had no idea when writing this book several years ago what an impact it would have on the Alzheimer's community. I am so grateful to her and her work.
Still Alice is still in limited release but by the end of February it should be in many more theatres. Don't miss the opportunity to see Julianne Moore's portrayal of Alice.