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Movie Review

Alzheimer’s documentary comes close to ‘Genius’

All tales about victims of dementia are tragic, not just for the sufferer but for the loved ones involved. But the story of Dedham resident Pam White, subject of an affecting, lyrical documentary by her son Banker White and co-directed by Anna Fitch, involves an especially cruel irony.

A year after Pam started writing “The Genius of Marian,” a book about her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother, the painter Marian Williams Steele, Pam herself was diagnosed with the disease. She was 61. In intimate, diary form, White borrows the title of his mother’s unfinished book to chronicle her battle against the inevitable, and the equally courageous efforts of her husband and children in caring for her. Their daily struggle will resound not only with those who face the same situation, but with all who must someday confront the inevitabilities of illness, loss, and grief.

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