example, people who suffer from Alzheimer's will not remember what they were just told and as

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Joselline Tenesaca


Prof. Dragan May 24, 2021

The portrayal of Alzheimer’s on the film Still Alice

Alzheimer’s is a disease that destroys memories and important mental functions. Some aspects of this disease are the ability to not remember something in the short and long term, for example, people who suffer from Alzheimer's will not remember what they were just told and as time passes, they will forget all their memories including who they are. This disease can’t be cured, but the movie “Still Alice” directed by Richard Glatzer, shows how technology, for examples phones, can be a big help to people who has this disease because in the movie it shows how technology helped Alice a lot for remembering somethings (Bradshaw 1). It also shows how family support is tremendously helpful for people who have Alzheimer's. Alice was a professor who had everything, she didn’t feel anything until one day her doctor told her that she had Alzheimer's and that she should rest and stay with her loved ones, because it was going to be hard for all the family and especially for her. (Bradshaw 1). People with Alzheimer's are people who have to be treated like a baby because with the past of the day's people would forget important things like memories. Based on several sources, I will argue that the portrayal of Alzheimer’s Disease in Still Alice is accurate with the symptoms, treatments, and usual outcome for this condition. The movie presents some very accurate details through a fictional 'case study of a character with the early-onset form of Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's is a disease connected with the brain, neurons that affect memories, emotions, and the mobility of talk. This disease can be silent but with the pass of the days,


Alzheimer's can be present in the person’s life by not remembering what they were just told or forget what they have to do. The author says, “A person with AD usually has a gradual decline in mental functions, often beginning with slight memory loss, followed by losses in the ability to maintain employment, to plan and execute familiar tasks of daily living, and to reason and exercise judgment. The ability to communicate, mood, and personality are also affected”

(Rowland, and Davidson 77). This quote shows how people who develop Alzheimer's lose the ability to their daily basic things and also loses the ability to interact with their family/friends.

Moreover, scientists/doctors have found that Alzheimer's also affects sleep in the early and late stages of Alzheimer's. For example, the author says, “Many people with Alzheimer's experience changes in their sleep patterns. Scientists do not completely understand why this happens. As with changes in memory and behavior, sleep changes somehow result from the impact of

Alzheimer's on the brain. Many older adults without dementia also notice changes in their sleep, but these disturbances occur more frequently and tend to be more severe in Alzheimer's. There is evidence that sleep changes are more common in later stages of the disease, but some studies have also found them in early stages” (Judd 231). This quote shows how people who have Alzheimer's experiment with sleep disorders, and this is due because the brain is not functioning well, Alzheimer destroy and change the way of people’s life. In some cases, people have died from Alzheimer's even though they were in treatment, but their brain couldn’t support all the medicine that they had, or their brain was too damaged. Some doctors/scientists say that antioxidants can be good for not develop Alzheimer's. The author says, “although there are several possible candidates. Inflammation of the brain may play a role in their development and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) seems to reduce the risk of

developing AD” (Rowland, and Davidson 78). This shows how scientists find out that


antioxidant drugs can help to not develop Alzheimer's. They also stated that taking this can be bad and good because antioxidant is a strong drug for the body and needs to be taken with prescription (Doctors’ instruction).

The film Still Alice has a good rating by many reviewers most of them critique how the actor (Julianne Moore) did a great performance with her role because the audience could feel the real pain that people with Alzheimer's goes through. The article says, “her performance that makes the film so desperately moving - but it is also extremely, passionately and deftly directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland” (Still Alice - film review: Julianne Moore's Oscar- winning performance is incredibly moving; Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's will have you sobbing into your popcorn, but you'll cherish life more when you've seen it 1). This quote shows how the portray of Alzheimer's in the film highlight important parts of the disease, but they also said that the performance of Moore was fundamental in the movie, because she was able to express how people deal with Alzheimer's.

Furthermore, people said that Still, Alice has something that no other movies have. For example, the author says, “This film moreover has one thing that other movies about dementia do not:

some very sharp, shrewd insights about how computer technology allows dementia sufferers to manage their symptoms - or conceal them. Or is it that technology use is itself a symptom? Alice is as addicted to her smartphone as anyone else. But she is increasingly dependent on its

personal-organizer functions, and she Googles things on her phone that she should be able to remember without help. Still Alice review - moving meditation on who we are; Featuring Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning performance, this story of a woman with early-onset

Alzheimer's is affecting and thoroughly worthwhile" (Bradshaw 2). This quote shows how the film still Alice not just reflects on the disease but also reflects on the big help that technology can


be in people who have Alzheimer's. In the movie, the director shows how Alice recorder a video for herself to help her remember what she has and why she acts like that. This was a big help for her because her family will show her that video and she will know what is happening.

People who have Alzheimer's need the support of their families to help them go through this disease. In the film Still Alice, the director wanted to also transmit that family support is also fundamental for Alice, with the patience, care, and love that their family gives to her, she will not feel bad alone (Still Alice. Directed by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland, performance by Julianne Baldwin, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, HBO home video, 2014). Doctors

recommend that people who have someone who suffers from Alzheimer's should know that they will be responsible for their health. For example, the author states, “they become less and less aware of their disabilities. Their families are forced to become increasingly responsible for their health, welfare, and ultimately, for the most fundamental activities of daily living” (Mittelman 104). This quote means that family members have to take all responsibilities because people with Alzheimer's will lost their abilities to eat, think and talk. Additionally, people say that people who have someone with Alzheimer's will get more depressed and stress. The author says,

“Research has shown that caring for a family member with Alzheimer's can have severe adverse effects such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, compromised immune function, and physical illness.

For caregivers who are the husband or wives of the people with Alzheimer's, the illness can take a particularly heavy toll” (Mittelman 104). This means that not just people who have Alzheimer's will suffer, it will make them suffer their families because people with Alzheimer's radically have changes of humor. In the film Still, Alice, his husband, and daughter feel sad, tired, and depressed at the same time because she doesn’t remember them, and sometimes, she acts

aggressive with their daughters. It also shows how her daughters cry when she was sleeping or in


another place. Even though Alice was forgetting her family, her family never give up and her family did everything they could to make her feel comfortable for example they show her some photos or start talking about how happy they were. Sometimes they got tired for explain and explain but with the support of everybody, they will not feel stress.

However, some people believed that the portrayal of Alzheimer in Still Alice is not accurate because it doesn’t show the real disease, they are all wrong because in the film Still, Alice is accurate with Alzheimer, for example in the movie, when Alice went to the doctor told her that she was in the early stage of Alzheimer meaning she will forget somethings like memories or words. The director portrays those characteristics of the disease in the film. The performance of Moore was good because in this way people could feel how people with Alzheimer's have to go through. The author says, “Alice's dementia points toward the kinds of moral experimentation that are possible, and quietly being practiced, by ordinary people every day” (Taylor 1). This quote shows how the movie was based on true real symptoms of

Alzheimer's in the film.

In conclusion, the portrayal of Alzheimer's in Still Alice is accurate because it shows the real symptoms, stages, and reactions that real people with Alzheimer's have. Still Alice had a good rating because it touches other people's hearts, with the performance Moore people see that Alzheimer's is a hard disease and the family needs to be together.


Works Cited

Still Alice. Directed by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland, performance by Julianne Baldwin, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, HBO home video, 2014.

This is my main film and theme for my paper. This film was based in a true story. Julianne Moore shows how a person who has Alzheimer affect the most important memories that they had about their life.

Peter Bradshaw. "Still Alice review - moving meditation on who we really are; Featuring Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning performance, this story of a woman with early-onset Alzheimer's is affecting and thoroughly worthwhile". The Guardian, March 6, 2015 Friday.

In this article the author explains how Moore did a great performance because she

transmitted how the real disease affects the person and all the family. He describes what is happening in the movie and how the director portrays Alzheimer.

Kolata, Gina. "An Early Sign of Alzheimer's Brings Fear, and New Insight: Early Alzheimer's Sign Brings Insight." New York Times (1923-Current file), Jun 02 2002, p. 1. ProQuest. 29Apr.


In this article, the author explains how 61-year-old women developed Alzheimer.

According to the article, Alzheimer can be a silent disease because even going to the doctor, they couldn’t tell if she was developing Alzheimer or not. She said that forgetting

somethings was “normal”.


Mittelman, Mary S. “Family Caregiving for People with Alzheimer's Disease: Results of the NYU Spouse Caregiver Intervention Study.” Generations: Journal of the American Society on Aging, vol.

26, no. 1, 2002, pp. 104–106. JSTOR.

In this article the author shows how the family of the person who has Alzheimer suffer from depression and stress because they will have to take care of that person. It also said that people who develop Alzheimer can be genetics.

Rowland, Belinda, and Tish Davidson. "Alzheimer's Disease." The Gale Encyclopedia of

Alternative Medicine, edited by Laurie J. Fundukian, 4th ed., vol. 1, Gale, 2014, pp. 77-83. Gale Virtual General Reference Collection,

In this encyclopedia article the author explains what Alzheimer disease is and how affect people. She explains all the symptoms and ways that people can prevent.

"Alzheimer's Disease and Changing Sleep Patterns." Sleep Disorders Sourcebook, edited by Sandra J. Judd, 3rd ed., Omnigraphics, 2010, pp. 231-233. Health Reference Series. Gale Virtual General Reference Collection,

This is one of the articles that examples how Alzheimer affects sleep. It explains how people can develop more depression, less sleep, and legs syndrome.

Taylor, Janelle, and Janelle S. Taylor. “Engaging with Dementia: Moral Experiments in Art and Friendship.” Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry, vol. 41, no. 2, June 2017, pp. 284303. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s11013-017-9528-9.

In this article the author explains how the film still Alice show how people goes through.

The author goes for a deeper explanation.





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