“The Song Plays On”—Barriers of Disease

Written by Angela November 09, 2015

Once someone suffers from serious illness, their entire family suffers with them. The short film “The Song Plays On” explores how Alzheimer’s disease impacts the relationship between a father and daughter as his dementia progresses along with her helplessness to manage the situation.
Written by Laurence Timms, directed by Adam Spinks and produced by LOWKEY Films in association with Initiative Motion Pictures, “The Song Plays On” is a brief yet profound glance at the adverse effects of Alzheimer’s on both the sufferer and the caretaker. When Alice looks in on her ailing father, she stumbles upon a vinyl record that, once played, distances her father, John, from the present reality and takes him to a place where his daughter can no longer reach him. While John’s mind clings to the memory of dancing with his wife, Anne, as a 25-year-old, Alice’s own isolation and frustration comes to a desperate head as the disease draws an irreparable wedge between herself and her once-strong father.
Powerful in its simplicity, “The Song Plays On” creates a heartbreaking metaphor when Alice leaves her father’s house in fear and returns only to find the doors locked. Dedicated to raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, the film conveys how isolating and dividing the illness can be to affected families. When Alice finds herself unable to enter into a once familiar and welcoming domain, audiences can instantaneously connect with her confusion and sadness she is blocked from reaching out to her father. In essence, the film presents the disease as a closed and locked door separating victims from their loved ones.
The story is told in a tragic, tender and humanistic way, paying equal amounts of attention to John and Alice as they experience the disease through their own points of view. The transitions from flashback to present are smoothly done, and the performances are compassionately executed. From the moment Alice first enters the house, it is clear from the nearby canes, piled-up mail and dying flowers that John’s life is deteriorating before her eyes, despite Alice’s efforts to take control.
The film comes to no easy conclusion because there is never any easy conclusion for those dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s. According to the Canadian Alzheimer’s Society website, there is currently no cure for the disease, and there is no treatment that will stop its progression. “The Song Plays On” is an informative project that primarily aims to deliver its message by demonstrating how closely connected memory and music can be, especially to someone experiencing the symptoms of dementia. But its true success is in its comprehensive portrayal of the relationship between the caregiver and the victim, proving how effective the medium of cinematic storytelling can be when it comes to broadening awareness and understanding of a difficult topic.

Rating: 10/10

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About Angela

Angela McInnes is an English major and up-and-coming horror film aficionado. To her, happiness is a bottle of rum and a creature-feature on a Saturday night.

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