A Million Happy Nows

Director: Albert Alarr
2016 | USA | 80m
GENRE: Drama | Health/Medicine | Lesbian | Mental Health | Relationships | Romance
SECTION: US Feature
Expected Guests: Producer, Crystal Chappell & Screenwriter, Marisa Calin

Trailer

All the world’s a soap opera, and all the men and women merely players, even daytime diva Lainey Allen (Crystal Chappell). She has enjoyed two decades of stardom (and won a Daytime Emmy Award) and has a blissful relationship with her beautiful partner, Eva (Jessica Leccia). But now Lainey is having difficulty remembering her lines — both on set and off.

Are the florid writing and torrid story arcs to blame — or is it something else? She decides to retire, and she and Eva move to a little house perched on a bluff overlooking the ocean. But without the distractions of work, it soon becomes apparent that something is not quite right. A visit to the doctor confirms it: Lainey is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

A Million Happy Nows is the ultimate meta-melodrama, playing with notions of memory, identity, and same-sex relationships that echo shows and characters past. Fans of the long-running (but now-canceled) Guiding Light will recognize Chappell and Leccia as the groundbreaking couple affectionately known as “Otalia.” However, this film is more than a genre film. It is a sensitively portrayed, lustrously shot paean to memory: creating it and saving it, but not being a slave to it. As feisty, funny Lainey grapples with her new reality — sometimes seeming to slip into her old soap opera character, “Vivian” — and Eva tries to help her, they both come to understand the importance of the happy Now.

— LUCY LAIRD

CO-PRESENTED BY
UCSF Memory and Aging Center