A Million Happy Nows Movie Review

(Also known as 1 Million Happy Nows for VOD Screenings)

Reviewed by: MaryD

MARYD’S REVIEW

There are times when art imitates life far far far too much. It’s too real. It’s too accurate and it’s so realistic that it physically hurts to watch. It hurts so much that it feels the marrow of your bones ache (an old saying that my grandfather used to say and it applies to this movie). In this movie amidst the sorrow, there is light and love. It’s a story of the deep love one has for their partner, striving to do what’s best for them and making difficult choices, no matter how hard they are.

For a movie to get such a visceral reaction, it must be one that gets you emotionally involved and you spend an hour and a half caring about the characters to the point where you are crying at the end. That’s one hell of a movie.

It’s not an action movie, it’s not a superhero movie although the two main characters are trying to be more than the sum of their parts – it’s primarily two main characters (with some additional characters who lend support) and it’s about raw emotion and how they deal with an illness that will end their relationship: Alzheimer’s Disease.

You hear that word – Alzheimer’s – and your heart immediately aches because you know there is no chance of recovery, there is no saving grace, there is no magic pill. There is a slow progression into nothing (for the patient) and eventual death. For their loved ones, it’s a slow progression of pain and heartache in losing their loved one and watching them fade and die while they are still alive.

When I first heard about this movie, my heart ached BUT I was also wanting to see what the movie will be. It’s a difficult subject matter and it has to be handled correctly. I had high hopes for this movie because of the people involved – Christa Morris (a talented producer) at Open Book Productions. From there it was just a matter of wanting to see it immediately. The stars of this movie are the incredible Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia (those two have incredible chemistry and both are powerful actors). I remember welling up and the emotion so strong that I couldn’t convey my feelings when I was told. That’s a powerful reaction to a movie idea.

I come into this movie with the knowledge and life experience of dealing with a woman that had been dealt an awful hand in life – Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. You wouldn’t wish that on your worst enemy. We expect our lives to end at some point and up to that point we experience life to the fullest – good, bad, ugly, exhilarating and regrets. We expect to feel that up to the moment we take out last breath but not so with Alzheimer’s – losing yourself, losing what makes you, YOU, is the cruellest of deaths while you are still alive.

This movie had me teared up within minutes and by 17 minutes in I felt the welling up of tears and didn’t let go until the very end.

I will say Crystal Chappell as Lainey Allen was MAGNIFICENT. Absolutely NAILED the portrayal of a woman losing herself to this terrible disease. Her portrayal was so accurate and so poignant that I had to stop the movie several times and walk away.

Jessica Leccia as Eva Morales, Lainey’s partner, was loving, supportive and quite vulnerable but there was also strength. Qualities I have seen in real life of a person being in that supportive partner role. It reminded me of my friend Steve who had endured his wife’s deteriorating state for many years. I remember when Kia told me she could never forget my bad jokes even if she lost her mind. If only my bad jokes were that powerful. Alas they were not  and neither is love.

There is only one thing more powerful and that is death. Love can’t win with this disease. Seeing Eva cope with Lainey’s deteriorating condition is heartbreaking. Jessica was SUPERB in this role. There a part where she finds out the diagnosis and breaks down in the elevator. I saw myself in that moment because that is exactly what I did. I was told, and I went off into an elevator, stopped it and cried.  Alzheimer’s is an awful way to die. It’s slow. It’s agonizing for those witnessing the slow death of their loved one. It’s inhumane. What is there to do? Who do you curse out for this evil disease that is taking over someone you love? Who do you blame?

A Million Happy Nows is a testament of love because there is nothing else – it’s the love we have for the one that is going through this evil disease and the strength it requires to stay in the moment and deal with it as your loved one is fading away and your life is falling apart.

A Million Happy Nows is one hell of a movie.

Rating: 5/5

Image courtesy of Perfect Features / A Million Happy Nows

SYNOPSIS

Veteran actress Lainey Allen (Chappell) is tired of being sidelined for younger talent on the soap she has starred in for twenty years. Coupled with finding it harder to retain her lines, she decides not to renew her contract, and she and her publicist and partner, Eva Morales (Leccia), move to a beach house overlooking the ocean on the Central California coast. The move highlights some small changes in Lainey’s personality – mild depression that Eva puts down to leaving the show. But when Lainey starts to forget more than can be attributed to stress, Eva insists on a visit to the doctor. A Million Happy Nows chronicles Lainey and

Eva’s changing relationship as they struggle to deal with the diagnosis of Lainey’s Early Onset Alzheimer’s, the prospect of an indomitable woman’s future of dependence and her single support system – the woman who was once in awe of her, became everything to her, and will now look after her.  

OFFICIAL TRAILER

OFFICIAL SONG
ALL THAT’S LEFT OF ME

WHERE TO WATCH

DVD / Blu-Ray: Coming Soon

USA / Canada Viewers: