I haven’t watched all of these (yet) but I decided to do a little research about movies with Alzheimer’s as a main theme in the story line. Here they are, in order from newest to oldest. I checked to see what was on Netflix and made a note if you are a Netflix fan and want to find them there. Some may be on Amazon Prime and I believe all can be purchased as DVDs on Amazon. Would love to know if any of these have touched you in any way, given you new insights, or if you just have an opinion about which should be next on my watchlist.
Still Alice (2015)
(Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart)
Still Alice shows the devastating toll early-onset Alzheimer’s has on the person and their family, through the eyes of Alice, the woman with the disease. Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s disease, Alice and her family find their bonds thoroughly tested. Her struggle to stay connected to who she once was is frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring. (on Netflix)
Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory (2014)
Social worker Dan Cohen, through his nonprofit organization Music and Memory, advocates for the use of music therapy for dementia patients. (on Netflix)
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me (2014)
This documentary shows country music legend Glen Campbell on his farewell tour throughout the United States, Australia and Europe. Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 and publicly fought the disease and its stigma along with his family. (on Netflix)
The Iron Lady (2011)
The Iron Lady is a 2011 British biographical film based on the life of Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013), the longest-serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of the 20th century. The film shows her struggle with dementia and with the lack of power that comes with old age, while looking back on defining moments of her personal and professional life, on which she reminisces with her (now-dead) husband, Denis Thatcher, whose death she is unable to fully accept. She is shown as having difficulty distinguishing between the past and present. A theme throughout the film is the personal price that Thatcher has paid for power. (on Netflix)
The Notebook (2010)
(Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams)
The film is based on Nicholas Spark’s novel and features a young couple who fall in love in the 1940s. Their story is narrated from the present day by an elderly man (portrayed by James Garner) telling the tale to a fellow nursing home resident.
Away From Her (2007)
(Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent, Michael Murphy, Olympia Dukakis)
Long married, Fiona and Grant find their mutual devotion tested by her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. When it becomes apparent that the condition is worsening, she checks into a rest home. Grant visits her a month later and finds that his wife has grown close to Aubrey, a fellow resident. Jealous and hurt, Grant finally seeks help from Aubrey’s wife when Fiona suffers a crisis.
(Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent)
Kate Winslet portrays the young Murdoch in her heady years at Oxford-unaware of future life events, she says, “There is only one freedom of any consequence: that of the mind”-while Dame Judi Dench masterfully conveys the later years of aging and Alzheimer’s. In the forefront is husband and caretaker John Bayley (played by Jim Broadbent), who remains devoted and loving even through his love’s encumbered thinking and, at time, abuse. (on Netflix)
Do You Remember (1985)
(Joanne Woodward, Richard Kiley, Geraldine Fitzgerald)
Barbara Wyatt-Hollis is a successful college professor who must come to terms with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease as it begins to affect her professional life, her marriage to her compassionate husband, George, and her grown children. As Barbara’s personality and memories disappear, a husband no longer knows the woman he married, a mother helplessly watches her daughter’s deterioration, and a son’s fear and vulnerability consume him.
On Golden Pond (1981)
(Kathryn Hepburn, Jane Fonda & Henry Fonda)
First movie to talk about dementia – very controversial at the time!
An aging couple, Ethel and Norman Thayer, continue the long tradition of spending each summer at their cottage on a lake in the far reaches of northern New England called Golden Pond. As they resettle into their summer home, Norman’s memory problems arise when he is unable to recognize several family photographs, which he copes with by frequently talking about death and growing old. They are visited by their only child, a daughter, Chelsea, who is somewhat estranged from her curmudgeon of a father. (on Netflix)
I thought Still Alice was a brilliant film, and captured the frustration (but maybe not all of the anger!) that people suffering from dementia experience. I’d like to see a few of the others on your list (especially Iris). Thanks so much for sharing these.
I watched Iris last week – excellent! The Iron Lady was also a fascinating look from the perspective of Margaret Thatcher – an interesting mix of her life, career and struggles with Alzheimer’s.
This is a great list. I haven’t seen them all and I’m always looking for great portrayals of how aging and dementia affect the caregiver as well as the ‘caregivee’.
I just watched IRIS last week – it’s on Netflix. Did a fantastic job showing the love and frustration the husband had…
I’ll add to my list of resources.
Thanks – I’ve watched most of them, they are great but have tissues on hand!
away from her,is breathtaking,I’ve watched it.:(
I wish someday they can find a cure for Alzheimer’s…that my Husband,suffered at this moment.its been hard and so sad on my take…seen him going down everyday is different struggled for both of us.
Thank you so much for sharing!
But no story is quite the same!!!:(
I am being treated for a neurological disease titled Parkinson, I was in my late 60’s when I stared to experience my right hand shaking every once and awhile. Now at 75 I have all the symptoms that I saw in the movie Still Alice which I enjoyed very much. I will talk to my neurologist about me having Dementia or Alzheimer. The movie Still Alice rivting
David – sending you lots of strength and love to figure out what is going on…
Being a care giver to mother with Alzheimer proceeded to Dementia, readers need no telling the consequences. The idea came to mind for help from Alzheimer International Pakistan Karachi Chapter to help patient with free Netflix to family with broadband reccomendation to USF (Universal Service Fund) in Karachi, where Alzheimer patients meet, or may have a contribution from Netflix free connection which could be reccomended to the USF respective administration/Government for broadband internet, fix or mobile.
As there is no medicine/cure for Alzheimer, I would say if they watch some movies, could have a stimulus for saving.
I understand what you are saying but I also know that many readers find this blog when there is an initial diagnosis and they DO NEED to learn more about what to expect.
I am a health care professional and find iris/away from home/the notebook marvelous place to start to explore what lies ahead in this insidious disease
Started with Still Alice several years ago when we discovered my wife was early ALZ; well done real life situation. It was the first in a series of wake up calls as we progressed together.
Next, very recently Away From Her was suggested by our support group leader, a retired psychologist, who is doing this on a volunteer basis – bless her. My wife recently entered a Long Term Care Memory facility with a loving, caring group of Care Partners, a term suggested by David Troxel, M.P.H., and Virginia Bell, M.S.W., in their joint book, A Dignified Life. This movie, although not specifically above is also available on Netflix.
Look forward to eventually running pretty near the whole list — but not all at once, i think it might be overwhelming. Next on my list is Iron Lady.
I’m sorry your wife is on this journey and I totally agree – watching too many at once is definitely overwhelming!