I'm the Co-Founder and Programming Director of one of the most influential Film Festivals based in Las Vegas that recently had the pleasure to award the movie NOT TO FORGET.
This is a powerful movie that brings awareness to Alzheimer's Disease and honors the patients as well as their caregivers, who lovingly take care of them during their illness. But it doesn't stop there.
The movie reminds us not to forget our inner treasure, which on screen takes the form of a treasure chest.
The main character Chris (Tate Dewey) goes through that chest, all the way to his heart, and progressively rediscovers not only a photo of his dead mother, but also and foremost what it represents: Family values and Love. We are more than flesh and bone: We are a collection of memories that, for better or for worse, make up our life and give it a true, immeasurable meaning.
NOT TO FORGET sheds light on inner emotions that we deliberately forget to resolve and that we instead transform into hidden memories.
Just like in Alzheimer's patients, those memories may seem forgotten, but they are not: They continue to affect our lives and, often in a dysfunctional way, they leave us disidentified from our past and our real selves.
More specifically, the movie delicately explores the emotions related to the traumas caused by loss.
This is a moving narrative feature that is neither a documentary nor meant to teach us about Alzheimer's. Rather, it addresses the terrible disease to talk about family ties, growth, and rebirth. Through the story of its characters, it gracefully promotes family, compassion, forgiveness, and love. While Grandma is the one with memory loss, Chris is the one who truly forgot his family... and himself.
The viewers are led on a journey to rediscover values that most of us have forgotten about.
In the story, Chris doesn't have a real antagonist, because he has become his own antagonist. He has lost his parents, but especially himself: He can't let go of his past, forgive, and have a fruitful life. Chris is the quintessential example of the emotional confusion that each of us has experienced at least once.
When we get lost, we may end up losing the best parts of ourselves: sensitivity, kindness, honesty, and joy.
There is a parallelism that connects Chris with his grandmother Melody (Karen Grassle),both beautifully crafted and wisely thought-out. Although they apparently have different personalities, they both start their journey confined to a dark corner, where they experience a sense of identity loss that has led them to uncertainty, sadness, guilt, and fear.
NOT TO FORGET is brought to life by an astounding cast, consisting of newcomers, famed actors, and multiple Oscar winners.
All the supporting characters played by Louis Gossett Jr., Tatum O'Neal, Olympia Dukakis, Cloris Leachman and George Chakiris are functional to the story, which they enrich as they help Chris rediscover his intrinsic good-hearted values and accompany Melody through her fight with the disease.
The twists are not lacking and come as a surprise to the viewers, who go through an unexpected emotional climax that makes the movie even more intense and exciting.