Saving Milly (2005)
In Memory of Milly
Have you ever watched a loved one or friend deteriorate due to Parkinson's disease, it is not easy to watch as mobility, speech and lots of other things start to fail. It is also not easy to watch how it affects those closest to the person; the strain, the tiredness, the emotional impact amongst many other things. Watching "Saving Milly" does an amazing job of showing this as it tells the true story of Milly Martinez Kondracke and her husband Mort who became vocal in the need for more money to be put into the research for a cure. It is a powerful and touching story which opens your eyes to the disease whilst telling their story and campaign to get more funding.
Speaking to the Senate in Washington Mort Kondracke (Bruce Greenwood - I Robot) tells them all about his wife Milly (Madeleine Stowe - The General's Daughter) how he met her when he was a young journalist in Chicago watching her exercising freedom of speech at a public rally. Despite their issues from Milly always having to have the last word to his career ambitions they married and continued to battle various problems including Mort's own battle with alcoholism. But in 1987 Milly noticed her writing wasn't as it should be and she had a tremor in her little finger. Fearing the worst her fears were diagnosed when it was confirmed she has Parkinson's disease. It hits her hard as having been independent and vocal the disease robs her of all of that but Mort never stops loving her and on learning of the pitiful amount of money allocated to Parkinson's research helps to campaign for funding.
"Saving Milly" is a movie of two halves with the first half focussing on Milly and Mort before December 1987 when she noticed the first tell tale signs. That may seem quite a bit of time considering that this is a movie which is really about Parkinson's disease but it is important. It is important because it establishes Milly's character, her spirit as an independent person and vocal in her opinions whilst also establishing the relationship between Mort and Milly the fact they argue but deep down love each other completely.
But then we get to the second half which focuses on the Parkinson's aspect both when it comes to the treatments and lack of funding but also how it affects Milly, Mort and the family. We witness how Milly deteriorates, the loss of balance, the difficulty in speaking and the eventual need to be fed through a tube and it is hard hitting when we have watched such a strong woman become locked up in a body which won't let her live. But we also see how it affects the family and how much Mort loves her even if what she asks him to do is not what he really wants.
All of this makes for a powerful, emotional, touching and hard hitting story made all the more so when at the end of the movie Michael J. Fox appears to address the camera about the need for more funding in to Parkinson's research as for two decades the experts have been saying the same thing. Fox's appearance is hard hitting but so is Madeleine Stowe's performance as Milly who unsettlingly brings to the screen the various aspects of Parkinson's disease from the physical deterioration to the psychological as she fears being robbed of who she is. It is at times extremely hard to watch as it is such a convincing performance but it is aided by Bruce Greenwood who is absolutely brilliant as the supportive Mort. It is these two great actors who bring this very personal story to life and whilst "Saving Milly" is a made for TV movie it deserved to be seen on the big screen it has that much power.
What this all boils down to is that "Saving Milly" is an incredibly powerful movie, one which tells a touching story, recreates the deterioration of Parkinson's disease whilst also highlighting the need for more funding into the research. It may not be the greatest movie you will ever watch but "Saving Milly" is one you will never forget.
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