Louis Theroux is incredibly talented. Mainly known for his brilliant documentaries and podcasts, this British-American documentarian is a recipient of two BAFTAs and a Royal Television Society Television Award.
An Oxon, Theroux has cemented his legacy as a passionate seeker of truth who dabbles in various fields that include the close examination of unique and taboo subcultures, celebrities, crime and the legal system among other topics.
While Theroux has a lot of BBC collaborations, one of his most heartbreaking documentaries is now streaming on Netflix UK and Ireland. Titled Extreme Love: Dementia, this 2012 documentary was a follow up to Theroux’s first Extreme Love series, titled Extreme Love: Autism.
In the documentary, Theroux is seen travelling to Pheonix, Arizona, in the United States which is considered to be the capital of dementia care.
He spends time at a residential dementia care centre, Beatitudes to get to the bottom of it and ward off the prejudices and stereotypes associated with dementia. He explores how dementia gradually affects one’s memory and how loved ones try their level best desperately to keep the dying flames of these relationships alive.
Theroux also delves into Early-onset Alzheimer’s by bringing forward the case of a 49-year-old mother, Selinda Hope Border who has been diagnosed with dementia; Border succumbed at the age of 56 in 2018 to the illness.
The documentary is a painful watch as it upholds how relationships ebb away and fall through with the onset of dementia. From a mother daughter duo to a couple who have been together for decades, the illness does not hesitate to tear apart families.
One of Theroux’s saddest works, it presents the transience of memory and relationships in general while giving an intimate insight into the illness that has been researched for so long. The delicate handling of the subject matter and the infusion of light-hearted humour makes it worth the watch.