I read an article recently about how the percentage of people afflicted with dementia is going to rise significantly over the next decade or so. A scary thought. Dementia is such a scary disease with no cure and leaves the person a shell of their former self. As a result of this, I expect that there will be more and more films about dementia. Australian film, directed and written by JJ Winlove (Life is Risky), June Again is one example.
Family matriarch June (Noni Hazlehurst – Little Fish, Candy) is suffering from dementia and is in a home. She does not remember anything about herself or her life. That is until one day when she wakes up the old June. A June who was a respected businesswoman and the strong leader of her family. Her doctor is amazed but tells her that it will be a short-lived respite. This means that June has to hop to it.
After “escaping” from her facility, June heads straight back to her life. That means her family. Her two adult children are shocked to see June and doubly so when their mother is completely lucid. After catching up on their lives and the wallpaper business her family owns, June thinks things haven’t gone as she expected so she jumps into action trying to right the family’s ship. A tall order for the short amount of time June has.
A beautiful story filled with all sides of life – sadness, family, love, and regret. One of those in which someone sees their own life with fresh eyes. While the story might seem sad there are plenty of lighter moments to be enjoyed.
The situation of dementia and how it affects a family is realistically depicted here. Many, who might be going through it themselves, will be able to relate. Even without the dementia side of the story, there are many family dynamics at play here that are highly relatable.
Probably the strongest point of the film is the performance by Noni Hazlehurst. Her performance is wonderful and holds the rest of the film up. Plenty of nuance is injected into the performance with June being kinda bristly and pushy, but you know it is just because of love for her family. In the hands of a lesser actress this character could have become unlikable and a stereotype. But because of the realism and depth added by Hazlehurst, you end up wishing June’s period of lucidity would last forever.