A topic as of late explores movies that show the debilitating challenges of memory loss and its effects on being a caregiver. The Father, released in 2020, is about a man with dementia, who begins to challenge himself along with his loved ones while trying to figure out his life with memory loss. Anthony, the main character, feels alone and abandoned after he receives the news that his daughter is moving. The Father shows all the raw and real emotions of being a caregiver along with the reality of being an individual being diagnosed with dementia.
The film brings the disease to the forefront, inspired by co-writer and director Florian Zeller’s experience with his grandmother. Zeller says that his goal was “to put the audience in a position of posing questions to themselves throughout the storyline.” Questions such as ‘What would it mean to lose everything?’ and ‘What is real and what is not?’
The two main characters of the film offer two unique perspectives: one as a person experiencing memory loss, and the other as a caregiver coping with the change of their role and relationship to their loved one. Zeller said he wanted the story to be as truthful as possible, exploring the hardships of both sides of the journey.
Anthony Hopkins plays the leading role as Anthony, and received an Oscar for Best Performance. The film also received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement In Film Editing, Best Achievement In Production Design, And Best Motion Picture Of The Year. The Father also 'stole the show' at the 2021 British Academy Film Awards, receiving Best Leading Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and nominated for Best Film, Editing, Production Design, and Outstanding British Film.
Another film that deserves recognition is, Supernova. Released in 2021. Supernova is a fictional story inspired by the journey writer and director, Harry Macqueen, had experienced while volunteering. In the film, Tusker, played by Stanley Tucci, is diagnosed with dementia. He and his partner of twenty years, Sam, played by Colin Firth cope with the progressive change in their realities.
Supernova displays the importance of time with your loved one and explores the perspectives of both the diagnosed individual and caregiver. The film received two award wins and five nominations.
The recent up rise in dementia awareness within the media industry has played an important role in understanding the heartbreaking realities of being a caregiver or an individual diagnosed with cognitive impairment. These films display candid emotions and experiences, helping the audience empathize with the community of caregivers and diagnosed individuals. Introducing memory loss to common conversation offers potential to break the stigma of this life changing disease and help people affected find support and hope.