It's Oscars season. I love movies and try to catch as many of the Oscar-nominated films as I can before the Academy Awards. So far, I've seen Lady Bird, Three Billboards Ouside Ebbing, and The Post (all great, but my vote goes easily to Three Billboards). And I can't help but get a bit nostalgic now, thinking back to Oscars night three years ago. I still smile as I remember clutching onto producer and dear friend James Brown, holding our breaths, waiting for Matthew McConaughy to open that envelope and then hugging, laughing, and crying after he read, "Julianne Moore for Still Alice." I think I almost passed out when Julianne Moore included thanking me in her acceptance speech. It was magical, surreal, thrilling, beyond compare.
As I get ready for the release of EVERY NOTE PLAYED next month, I've been going through my emails with Richard Glatzer, the co-writer/director of STILL ALICE who had ALS. Unfortunately, he was in the hospital the night Julianne won her golden trophy. Even though he wasn't able to be in the theatre with us, I'm so grateful he was still here to see that happen, to have that moment, to know what he--and all of us together--helped make happen.
Here's an email I sent the morning of the Academy Awards, Feb 22, 2015 to Julianne Moore, directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, producers James Brown, Lex Lutzus, Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns, and Pam Koffler:
On 22 Feb 2015 08:03, "Lisa Genova" wrote:
GOOD LUCK today! Was thinking last night--if we were all born 100 years ago, none of this would've happened. We are all HERE, NOW. I hope you all enjoy every moment of today, of being here now. SO amazing!
I've been getting an overwhelming number of beautiful notes from people all over the world about your film--too many to send. But this one, from a lovely woman named Beth, came in today, and I thought you might all love to see it.
My love and gratitude to you all! xoxo
Here's the note:
Just came home from seeing Still Alice. For me, this was very close to home. From seeing the familiar face of Lisa Genova in the theater scene, to my mother having the same pillowcases that were at the beach house, to the improving relationship between mother and daughter.
Then the speech - the game changer - for all to hear. That people with AD still have feelings and are able to love and cherish their lives. It was poignant, understandable and relatable.
With my husband seated by my side, I hoped he was taking it all in. Just in case. After all, we have a strong family incidence.
Then, when she found the butterfly video, she was functionally happy, communicating with her daughter, etc., living life. I loved the line in the yogurt shop, "I'm not done yet, do we have to go?" I live that question every day with my mother.
I saw the faithful daughter come home just as I have done - a savior masked in a daughter's willingness. I used to read my writing to my mom just as she did. It felt safe sharing with her. "Nothing is lost." My time with momma has been an investment. The payoff is love.
At some point I reached behind me to the next row and took the hand of a friend who had moved home to care for her mom. For six years. We share a common bond. Just how Lisa Genova reached out her hand to embrace all of us by opening the door of awareness by writing the book. By the way the film was produced to touch each one of us.
This movie will make a huge difference for understanding life with dementia. And hopefully, change the perception of people with dementia. Go see it.