You’re Not You is a film that deals with ALS, a subject dealt with much more thoroughly and better in last year’s The Theory of Everything. This film stars Hilary Swank as Kate, a woman who has a seemingly perfect life. She’s married to Evan (Josh Duhamel), and they have a seemingly perfect relationship. Kate even plays the piano to later help demonstrate the seriousness of illness.
The film skips ahead to when Kate is dealing with the major symptoms of LAS, which prevent her from doing basic things that require fine hand movements and coordination. To demonstrate the seemingly perfect marriage, Evan is applying Kate’s makeup for her, because it is important to her and he is that devoted. Because it is very difficult to care for Kate, they decide to hire a caretaker, Bec (Emmy Rossum), who is the typical sort of messed up college student with no experience, so of course Kate immediately likes her and insists on hiring her.
This is where the movie begins to derail. It turns out that Evan had a brief affair with a co-worker because he was having a difficult time dealing with Kate’s illness. It is here that the movies devolves into somewhat of a soap opera, as Kate wants a divorce. In addition to the soap opera element, while Swank does an acceptable job portraying an ALS patient, she always does it while managing to still look pretty and often smiling. This is why I mention The Theory of Everything, where Eddie Redmayne portrayed Stephen Hawking, and his symptoms, which are much more severe than those we see Kate deal with. While Hawking has lived much longer than your average ALS patient, his symptoms are much more realistic. Kate never suffers the less attractive muscular failure, such as the inability to hold her head up or the slack muscles. While she can’t use her hands, they still look perfect. The movie basically fits the stereotype of those disease movies where people die beautifully of cancer, erasing all the ugliness of the disease from the viewers sight.
There is a subplot with Bec, who has disapproving parents, and Wil, a guy who Bec sleeps with but then tries to avoid, though he is clearly interested in a relationship. Bec and Kate develop a sisterly relationship where Kate uses the wisdom she has gained from her experiences with ALS to give Bec advice on how to live better.
The film was written by Shana Feste and Jordan Roberts, and directed by George C. Wolfe. The performances are all good, outside of the fact that Swank doesn’t show the full severity of the disease, though that may have been a decision of the screenwriter or director.