Eye For Film >> Movies >> Irene (2008) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Lindsay Goodall’s documentary is a deeply personal observation of the affect her 92-year-old Grandmother Irene’s Alzheimer’s has on all of the family. With tough choices to be made as Irene’s health deteriorates, Goodall captures the rollercoaster ride that living with Alzheimer’s takes you on – neatly observing the joy and sadness which mingles with a sense of the downright absurd from time to time.
When talk of a some respite care comes up, Irene obstinately says: “I’m not going to France.” Later Goodall suggests to her mum that it is maybe for the best that her Nan thought that was where she was being sent, since she was utterly relieved to have it explain to her she was, in fact, only going just down the road.
What shines through most about Goodall’s documentary is her care and attention to balance and detail. Although Irene’s health and mind are failing, she still has spirit and humour in abundance - and Goodall makes sure she captures them, along with her Nan’s opinions on what is going on, on camera. “I want to stay where I am,” she says. “Why can’t I?” By giving Irene a real voice in the film, Goodall helps us to tap into the complexity and heartbreak of the situation. This may be a personal testimony but it has a resonance for anyone touched by Alzheimer’s. Tissues definitely required.Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2008