Group of happy senior women at the cinema

7 Insightful Movies About Life with Dementia

As a society, our awareness and knowledge of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia has expanded through ongoing scientific research, treatments and an enhanced focus on memory care in senior living communities across the United States.

For many of us who have cared for loved ones living with memory loss, it is important to feel seen and heard, to know we are not alone and for all of us to feel encouraged by the progress medical professionals have made in their search to find a cure for neurodegenerative disease. At Eastcastle Place, our personalized dementia care services support individuals and families facing the new challenges and triumphant moments that come with this disease.

Along with online resources and books about living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, movies can provide meaningful insight into what you or your loved one may be feeling after a diagnosis. The following list of films approach this subject matter with grace and understanding, while painting a real picture of what these experiences are like.

7 insightful movies about dementia

1. The Leisure Seeker (2017)

Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren star as a couple struggling with end-of-life challenges in this film about Alzheimer’s and cancer. They have been married for more than 50 years and are experiencing feelings of loss before either of them has actually passed away. This film shines a light on how couples face adversity and the inevitable fates of incurable diseases.

2. Elizabeth is Missing (2019)

Maud, played by Glenda Jackson, is a film about a woman living with dementia who is struggling to make sense of her memories. It earned many nominations and awards, including a BAFTA for lead actress.

3. The Father (2020)

Sir Anthony Hopkins plays the role of a man becoming increasingly frustrated with his inability to live independently due to his dementia. His daughter, played by Olivia Colman, comes to live with him, and as the film evolves, we see their relationship and his relationships with others change. Anthony Hopkins captures what many individuals feel when beginning to lose their sense of self throughout the dementia journey.

4. What They Had (2018)

Blythe Danner plays Ruth, a woman who wanders off due to her Alzheimer’s disease. Her daughter, played by Hilary Swank, returns home to care for her. This film about dementia focuses particularly on the role of the family caregiver and sheds a lot on different family dynamics.

5. Still Alice (2014)

Based on the bestselling book by Lisa Genova, Julianne Moore stars as Alice Howland, a professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. This powerful film shares her journey and its impact on her husband (played by Alec Baldwin) and her children.

6. Away From Her (2007)

Nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Fiona, Julie Christie shines as a woman with Alzheimer’s who voluntarily admits herself into a long-term care facility in order to avoid becoming a burden to her husband. This film explores the relationship between husband and wife and the ability to cope with the reality of this disease.

7. Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch (2001)

This film, based on the book Elegy for Iris, depicts the true story of English novelist Iris Murdoch’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and how it affects her relationship with her partner of over 40 years, John Bayley. It captures the very real emotions between loved ones and the deterioration that takes place for someone living with this disease.

Senior couple watching the movie at the cinema and enjoying.

Learn more about elevated memory care at Eastcastle Place.

We want you to know that a dementia diagnosis for yourself or a loved one is not something you have to navigate alone. Our community offers personalized memory care services, providing 24-hour comfort and support, in a safe, welcoming neighborhood on the East Side of Milwaukee. Call us today to learn more.