Five movies to watch about caregiving that entertain and enlighten
Heartbreaking, rewarding, funny, sad, complicated and frustrating are just some words that describe the work and duty of caregiving in its various forms. Finding the right caretaker or committing yourself to looking after a loved one can be a story in and of itself, which means there's plenty of both fiction and non-fiction material out there about just those experiences. These films depict some of the rewards and challenges of caring for another person, whether the caretakers are adult children, paid workers or part of a hospital team.
So make some popcorn, grab some tissues and fire up the Netflix with your favorite companion.
The Savages (2008)
Siblings John and Wendy Savage must come together after years of avoiding their family when they find out their father needs to be put in a nursing home. Their dysfunctional past is dredged up, along with the family ties that were always there. With Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing the siblings, you know it’s got to be good.
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
In this sappy comedy, a retired writer living in the past (Paul Rudd) takes on his new job as a caretaker for an unruly teen (Craig Roberts) who has muscular dystrophy. They embark on a road trip to see the “lamest roadside attractions,” and learn about themselves and each other along the way.
The Intouchables (2011)
The French film tells a true story about a quadriplegic billionaire and his caretaker, an ex-con with just the right sense of humor. The movie was a box office hit in France, though not a favorite of critics, who contend that the portrayal of cross-racial friendship between the two is nothing revelatory. For feel-good motives, it’s worth watching the pair and their adventures while they learn life lessons from each other, however cliched.
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (2007)
This one is another French film and true story, but based on the autobiography of former Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby. In 1995, Bauby had a stroke that resulted in “locked-in” syndrome, which rendered him almost fully paralyzed and unable to communicate, yet completely conscious. Peppered with scenes of Bauby’s rich imagination, the film tells the story of his life that he dictated by blinking his left eye.
Still Alice (2015)
Julianne Moore plays Alice, an accomplished linguist professor with a loving husband, fully-grown kids and beautiful home. Her perfect life starts to unravel when she begins to forget work appointments, social engagements, and most alarming to her- her rich vocabulary. The award-winning film depicts how Alice and her family cope after she’s diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.