According to the social welfare department, there are over 600,000 people with disabilities as of January, amounting to an estimated 1.9% of Malaysia’s population.
In conjunction with World Alzheimer’s Day today – the progressive disease medically classified as a form of disability – FMT Lifestyle has compiled five films that shine the spotlight on the disabled community.
1. ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014)
This touching movie – a must-watch for biography lovers – tells the story of one of the world’s greatest scientists, Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his relationship with his partner Jane (Felicity Jones).
After Stephen is diagnosed with motor neurone disease (ALS) and is given only two years to live, Jane refuses to give up on him, and the two marry.
The couple then face an uphill challenge as Stephen’s condition deteriorates, but the theoretical physicist battles on with resilience, and Jane stays steadfast by his side while caring for their three children.
Memorable quote: “There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.” ~Stephen
2. ‘Still Alice’ (2014)
After her 50th birthday, Alice is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
As she loses her sense of self, the previously confident lecturer gradually becomes a frail, nervous woman, in a heartbreaking performance by Oscar winner Julianne Moore.
The film doesn’t shy away from showing how terrifying Alzheimer’s can be in taking away someone’s ability to communicate and connect with those around them.
“Still Alice” also depicts how her family members deal with her diagnosis, from denial to acceptance.
Memorable quote: “I am not suffering. I am struggling. Struggling to be part of things, to stay connected to whom I was once. So, ‘live in the moment’, I tell myself. It’s really all I can do: live in the moment.” ~Alice
3. ’37 Seconds’ (2019)
This Japanese film follows Yuma, a 23-year-old who has cerebral palsy and wants to be a successful manga artist.
When she shares her work with an editor, she is told she needs sexual experience to lend more authenticity to her craft, leading her to a journey of self-discovery.
The heartfelt movie shows the audience that Yuma is more than her disability: she has an equally beautiful soul as other able-bodied people.
Yuma is portrayed by newcomer Mei Kayama, who has the same disability as her onscreen character.
Memorable quote: “It was 37 seconds. That’s how long I didn’t breathe after I was born. If I’d been born first, Yuka might’ve ended up like me. If I’d started breathing even one second sooner, maybe I’d be free just like her. But I’m glad it was me.” ~Yuma
4. ‘Wonder’ (2017)
This coming-of-age drama is about 10-year-old Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), who lives with a rare facial deformity.
As Auggie loves everything space-related, he wears a toy astronaut helmet when he’s in public, concealing his face.
Homeschooled all his life, his parents send him to school one day, which causes him to be bullied for looking different.
Tremblay imbues the title character with pathos and relatability in this ultimately feel-good film that conveys how beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder.
Memorable quote: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle. And if you really wanna see what people are, all you have to do is look.” ~Auggie
5. ‘A Silent Voice’ (2017)
Shoko, who was born deaf, is an easy target for Shoya and his friends, who bully her to the point that she switches schools and moves away.
A few years later, Shoya himself becomes an outcast. Deciding to end his life, he first sets out to make amends with everyone he has wronged – starting with Shoko.
Heartfelt and powerful, this is a beautifully written and produced animated film that shows the journey Shoko and Shoya undergo in order to learn to love themselves.
Memorable quote: “Back then, if we could have heard each other’s voices, everything would have been so much better.” ~Shoya