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Some aim simply to entertain, while others have an additional goal in mind. Rather than simply telling a story, these films ask viewers to engage with a specific cause or message. They hope to boost awareness or perhaps inspire engagement, instead of providing an escape for audiences. Not to Forget is – for better or worse – one such film.

Karen Grassle and Tate Dewey in ‘Not to Forget’
Karen Grassle and Tate Dewey in ‘Not to Forget’ | Vertical Entertainment

‘Not to Forget’ takes a multigenerational look at Alzheimer’s

Written and directed by Valerio Zanoli, Not to Forget follows Chris (Tate Dewey), who – after getting in trouble with the law – is sentenced to house arrest at grandmother Melody’s (Karen Grassle) house. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Melody provides at first an opportunity for Chris to exploit her illness. But over time, her health leads him to rethink that plan.

With only caretaker Joe (Kevin Hardesty) to help her, Melody’s well-being wholly depends on others. Likewise, Chris encounters an entire community of characters who play integral roles in his own evolution. Suddenly, Melody’s illness stirs up Chris’ complicated past and causes him to question the direction of his own life.

The film stars 5 Academy Award winners

The story of Not to Forget might shamelessly tug at the heartstrings. But it’s plain to see its earnestness is well-intentioned. Sure, some plot points work better than others. However, the big picture remains a tale worth telling, especially with the impressive cast Zanoli has assembled. Not to Forget features not only Dewey, Grassle, and Hardesty as its three leads.

The film also includes no fewer than five Academy Award winners. Louis Gossett Jr. plays the local pastor who provides sage wisdom to Chris. West Side Story star George Chakiris and Tatum O’Neal play a bank manager and doctor, respectively. And Olympia Dukakis and Cloris Leachman – for whom Not to Forget was their final film prior to their 2021 deaths – make the most with limited screen time.


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‘Not to Forget’ is available to rent and buy on demand

Its Oscar-winning actors aside, Not to Forget is a slight, harmless movie about a very serious topic. Zanoli’s motivation for Chris and Melody’s story was clearly to promote Alzheimer’s awareness. It’s a tribute to not just those who have the disease. Perhaps more directly, it aims to shine a light on the caretakers whose mission is to assist them. And it does so with reverence and the respect of many in the Alzheimer’s community.

For those interested in watching Not to Forget, the movie is readily available to stream. It’s out to rent or buy on a variety of platforms, including Amazon, Google, Vudu, and Apple TV. Moreover, the film is available on Tubi for free with ads. Anyone with any interest in Alzheimer’s disease, its community, or this cast might be interested in checking it out.