In French, Se souvenir des belles choses, is a French movie starring the very talented, and absolutely gorgeous Isabelle Carré.
I was initially thinking about writing a post about different movies, preferably not blockbusters, who adressed multiple mental illnesses. To offer entertainement as well as thought provoking stories…. But Se souvenir des belles choses deserves a post of its own, so the other movies will have to wait a bit.
Claire Poussin (Isabelle Carré), a young woman in her early thirties, is convinced she suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s. Her sister believes her memorie loss is just the result of a lightning strike, but Claire decides nonetheless to be admitted in an institution dealing with patients with memories issues. There, she meets Philippe (Bernard Campan) who suffers amnesia troubles after the loss of his wife and child in a car accident. Claire and Philippe fall in love and as Philippe slowly recovers, Claire’s disease develops, making her life spiral down…
Why do I like this movie so much? Well, to begin with, my family had to accompany my father’s mother through the terrible disease that Alzheimer is. From the early signs (forgeting little details, and repeating herself all the time) to death, I’ve seen how this curse slowly stole her life away, one memorie at a time.
Alzheimer is a cruel illness. At first, hurting the person who suffers it. I remember when Grand Ma started noticing her growing forgetting. We used to joke around about it, to lessen the importance of the occasional signs the disease was setting in. With time, she realized what was happening and couldn’t hide her distress and frustration, losing her mind slowly but surely. It was already heartbreaking to try to help her accept what she couldn’t change; her brain stopped recording her present, and gradually erased her past…
The second stage of the illness was, I believe, less of a struggle for her, and more difficult for her loved ones. When my grand father died, she was put in a special home specialised in Alzheimer patients care taking. Grand Pa didn’t talk much. But I know he fought until his last breath to stay to help Grand Ma… He would have liked to see her go first, not to worry what would happen with her.
Grand Ma lived her last years in a world of her own… I think that until the end, she felt we were people dear to her when we visited her. Her eyes lit up at our sight, but she had no idea who we were anymore. Gone, but still among us. A sad sad sad way to see someone you love leave.
Grand Ma’s story isn’t unique, unfortunately. Too many people have to go down the same path.
Most people know about the late form of the illness, but early-onset Alzheimer’s is even scrarier to me. When developing in the thirties, the disease is much more agressive and quick to take you down. Se souvenir des belles choses shows that accelerated descent into madness… A roller coaster you get on never to be able to get off the wagon again.
For years, I feared that devil.
And the movie, although very scary to me, is so well made, and the story so well played, that I can’t help watching it from time to time…
Alzheimer attacks what matters the most to me… Thoughts and words. Stealing them away, one at a time, leaving you powerless.
Se souvenir des belles choses depicts that perfectly, on a sweet love story background… A must-see, really.
I feel this post came out in a clumsy way. I’m sorry about that. The Alzheimer matter makes me very emotional, and I guess it just makes the ideas come out confusedly. I could just keep my post in the “draft” file and work on it later, but I know I wouldn’t publish it in the end…
And if I can just interest one person into watching this little gem… It is worth sending this imperfect bouquet of thoughts out in the bloggosphere!
Let me know if you’ve seen, or decide to watch Se souvenir des belles choses (Beautiful memories)
I know, it is in French, but I couldn’t find an English trailer….