Still Alice; The Cinematic Wake-Up Call to Alzheimer’s Disease

I watched this film on a whim, in the mood to make myself sad while moping around in pyjamas and stuffing my face with very cheesy pizza. I knew little to nothing about Alzheimer’s disease. I did not have family members affected, nor did I know any of my parent’s or grandparents’ friends with the disease. Now, I feel a little bit ignorant.

To put it simply, Alzheimer’s disease is an illness that destroys brain cells, causing a range of symptoms like memory loss. As the disease progresses, it becomes more intense, and people with this illness can forget the most basic of things, like dressing yourself and bathing.

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This film is a masterpiece. Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, it is about a highly educated, extremely intelligent woman named Alice, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. She is a mother, a wife, a woman with a strong career and a lifetime of achievements, who finds herself slowly losing all of that. Played by Julianne Moore and joined onscreen by Kirsten Stewart and Alec Baldwin, Alice is struggling with a disease that tears people apart; those who struggle with it and those around them who can do nothing but watch their loved ones lose themselves.

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Still Alice is a wake-up call to the reality of Alzheimer’s disease. You do not need to know much about the disease to understand it; the film teaches you. We learn with the characters and fight the battle with them. It is a heart wrenching watch and a fitting tribute to those fighting this disease. As sad as it may be, it also fills us with hope; one day people may not have to ‘master the art of losing’ like Alice is. The most beautiful aspect of this film, is the constant reminder that although Alice is ill, she is still human and she will try with every might to live life to its fullest potential.

An outstanding film with fantastic acting, you are guaranteed to be left in an emotional state after this film. Check out the trailer below!

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Animated Films and Their Perks

We’ve all watched an animated movie at some point of lives or another. Disney, for example, has been making animated films since the early 1920s. For many of us, animated films were and still are, a huge part of our lives. Although designed for children, you’ll still find many adults watching animated films made by Disney and Pixar, like me. (I do not need a hobby, I have The Lion King and popcorn.)

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The beauty of animated films is the simplicity of the plot. There are no complexities, no “wait, I don’t get it” moments. (Inception, I’m looking at you…) Anybody can sit down, watch it and fully understand what is going on. Even better, these seemingly straight forward films teach great messages to children. The characters get themselves into difficulty. Something happens which makes their life harder and they can struggle at times, to cope well with these situations. However, it being an animated film for children, they always get through it and live happily ever after.

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A great example of this is Big Hero 6, a film released in 2014. It’s about a boy named Hiro, whose older brother creates a health care companion robot named Baymax. This film deals with huge issues like grief and depression, but shows children that these things are normal. It affects a lot of people, but you can get through it and be happy again. It’s a real hit-you-in-the-feels kind of film! (And turns me into an inconsolable crying mess on the couch every single time I watch it…)

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Not to mention, these films come with some insane amount of catchy songs that will remain in your head for days on end. One will usually find me singing Mulan songs to my cat, paired off with a wonderful mop for a dance partner / kung-fu ninja warrior.

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Finally, these films take an incredible amount of talent and hard work, in order to bring them together. From writers, to voice actors to the animators themselves, these films are an incredible blessing from very dedicated teams of gifted people. As a form of art, it is one of the coolest perks of the modern film industry.

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Animated films will make you laugh and make you cry. They’ll make dance, sing and then probably cry again because the four year old down the road won’t stop singing Let It Go. (And it’s really about time she let it go…) But best of all, animated films are something that can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. It can bring families together for cosy nights in, turn boyfriends into pillows as you cuddle up for some Monsters Inc., or send your dog running because you’ve decided to ‘grace’ him with your rendition of Be Our Guest. Either way, animated films are a really unique and very special area within film culture, something that is going to last for many more years to come.

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