At the Movies

On Golden Pond
The Notebook
A Song for Martin

What do these movies have in common?  They all deal with the topic of dementia.  I've seen the first two but have not yet seen the last two.  There are funny moments but all four movies are listed as "touching."  None of these are a comedy.

Thank You for Smoking
Funny People

How about these movies?  They all deal with the topic of cancer.  Some characters have terminal cancer.  One even has Alzheimer's.  They are also all comedies.

This week, word circulated that Will Ferrell was associated to a film titled _Reagan_ which was described as "an Alzheimer's comedy."  There was a tremendous amount of negative and immediate criticism directed towards Mr. Ferrell.  At the time that this was swirling, the primary plot point which surfaced is that he would portray President Reagan at the start of his second term with dementia symptoms already in play when an intern convinces him he is an actor portraying the president.  The criticism decried the movie and the actor as callous and disrespectful towards the late President Reagan, other individuals with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.

But, is it?

Is the film actually what the criticism claimed?  Is there honestly nothing funny about Alzheimer's?  Was the mistake that the screenwriter included such a recognizable individual with living family? How would the film have been received if the presidential character was ascribed another name?

Personally, I think there could be a comedic movie which involves Alzheimer's as a primary theme.  Goodness knows that we've laughed ourselves to tears over things that Lyn has done or said such as her advise to me that the police will arrest me for having sex with my husband.  Every caregiver that I've spoken to has wonderfully funny and touching stories they can tell about the person they've cared for.  Sometimes, those stories are uncomfortable while also being funny such as the story Jim Breuer tells of hosing his father with dementia down after he soils himself in the car.

Why should Alzheimer's be such a sacred topic that we can't include it in a comedy?


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