Every once in a while, I’ll come across a game that’s so unique, yet heart-breaking that it will make my writing worthwhile. Before I Forget is one of those games, and it’s exactly that. Unique and heart-breaking as well.
Before I Forget is a story-rich, first-person exploration game from 3-Fold Games. Delicate, moving, and atmospheric. It also examines the emotional impact of dementia.
Which brings me to my next point. A brief explanation about the game itself.
Before I Forget: What’s the game all about?
Developed and published by 3-Fold Games, Before I Forget is a unique playing experience. In its core, it’s also a game about dementia. And of course about what happens when you can’t hold onto the things you’ve done or the people you’ve loved.
You are Sunita in Before I Forget. A woman living with early-onset dementia. As you wander from room to room, you discover mysterious objects, each holding a fleeting, fragmented memory. You get to examine faded postcards, scribbled notes, photographs, and more. All to uncover Sunita’s past, piece together her life story, and understand her present.
3-Fold Games are a small but mighty micro-studio from game developers Claire Morwood & Chella Ramanan. The studio is dedicated to telling diverse stories from underrepresented perspectives. Furthermore, the creative duo makes it their mission to create games that give voice to individuals who are often excluded from game narratives.
Before I Forget: Dementia Is A Cruel Disease
By definition, Dementia is a broad category of many different brain diseases. They cause a long-term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember. However, the most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which makes up 50% to 70% of cases. Other types include dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia. Hence, Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging and stressful, but with the right help, it’s rewarding as well.
I can’t really say that there are plenty of great movies that include dementia in the plot. And indeed, the ones that do exists are dramas, but I’ve managed to find some really interesting picks. And, no I won’t be including The Notebook here in this post. I’m very well aware that the older version of the lead female character (played by the brilliant Gena Rowlands) suffers from Alzheimer’s. But aside from Gena, personally, I despise that movie. I’ve been hating it since my friends forced me to watch it, and I just eye roll every time the movie ends up on some TV channel. Which is usually around Valentine’s day, but I digress.
Here are some of my picks:
Away From Her
Can you believe that Away from Her is Sarah Polley’s directorial debut? And at the age of 27 no less. Doesn’t it make you feel like a total under-achiever? All joking aside, this is one of the best movies out there. It perfectly captures the pain that the Alzheimer patients go through, but also their partners. Their family as well. Add tho this Julie Christie’s fantastic performance and you have an instant classic. Additionally, Gordon Pinsent’s real-life passed away just 4 months after the premiere of the movie. However, it took some convincing for Julie Christie to take the part. Indeed she turned the script down the first time it was sent to her. She turned it down this several times. But it was Sarah Polley’s determination that wore her down and she finally accepted.
If Julie Christie earned an Oscar nomination, Julianne Moore got her very first Oscar because of this movie. Finally, she’s Alice in Still Alice. Acclaimed professor, mother and wife. Shortly after her 50th birthday, Alice will be diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and it will change the course of not only her life but her family’s. However, Directors Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer were unable to attend the Oscars to see Julianne Moore win. Glatzer’s ALS had deteriorated significantly and died of ALS in March 2015. Moore even admitted that she took a month off from filming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 to film this movie. And it paid off. This is one of Moore’s best movies to date.
Set in two separate timelines with two different pairs of actors. Iris is an incredible film about the mental deterioration of probably one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. Iris Murdoch. Filled to the brim with excellent actors and a fantastic script. Dame Judy Dench, Kate Winslet, Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent are some of the few of the actors in Iris, but this is a movie adaptation from John Bailey’s book. Iris’s husband who cared for her and loved her until the end. On the other hand, Whoopi Goldberg called this “a movie that even Ingmar Bergman found depressing. That’s true! At the 2002’s Oscar ceremony no less. Speaking of Oscars, the cast of Iris includes three Oscar winners: Dame Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, and Jim Broadbent and I highly recommend it.
The slightly different movie than the previous three. Over here in The Savages, the supporting character is suffering from Alzheimer’s. The main character’s father. And the most affected by his illness are his two children (played by Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman). They’re highly damaged and immature individuals, but not put in charge of the well-being of their distant and abusive father. Likewise, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Philip Bosco previously appeared in Nobody’s Fool. But although Hoffman plays the older sibling in The Savages, Laura Linney is in fact older than him. Additionally, this is one of the best movies you’ll even watch. Aside from the incredible performances, there’s the incredible writing/directing from Tamara Jenkins as well. It’s a must watch.
Before I Forget: Your picks
Which are some of your picks to add to this list? Which movies about dementia you like the most? Tell us in the comment section. We’d love to know.