Reel Caregiving: Glimpses of Caregiving – The Upside

Movie Review Courtesy: Asmita Thapa

The Upside is a comedy-drama about Phillipe Lacasse, a wealthy self-made entrepreneur who is paralyzed from the neck below and Dell Scott, a notorious con-man, out on parole who could barely earn a living before accidentally landing the job of ‘life auxiliary’ for Lacasse.

Since Lacasse is a quadriplegic, Scott agrees to live with him and assists him with all his routine activities throughout the day.

Impact on a Caretaker’s Work-Life Purpose, Financial, and Social Well-Being

Dell Scott is an inexperienced caretaker who takes time to get accustomed to a new routine and different chores that his job entails. The movie displays the initial discomfort experienced by someone who is providing care.

A man, with previously questionable moral principles indulged in lying, conning, and fraudulent activities found purpose in caring for Lacasse, The development in Dell’s character can be seen throughout the movie where providing paid services to an ailing Lacasse made him value his family more. Many rifts within Dell’s family came from him not being able to provide financial security to his wife and son, which also forced him into indulging in deceitful activities. Having a well-paying job thus took care of his monetary requirements. Being an ex-con man, Dell wasn’t able to participate in most social gatherings, also his social circle wasn’t as meaningful and uplifting to inspire him into a morally right path. Thus, taking up the job of a life auxiliary enabled him into a better lifestyle in all aspects of his well-being.

His learning curve is similar to silent family caregivers who are not equipped with any formal education but gradually acquire the skills required to provide care and eventually learn to live with it and turn it into a way of life.

Impact of Caregiving on the Recipient’s Psychological and Social Well-Being

Due to his condition where he was deprived of performing the bare minimum for himself, Lacasse felt at a loss because of not being able to build positive meaningful relationships. He acknowledges and admits to the fact that most people know and like him because of his money. During the movie, we see instances where Lacasse isn’t treated right, and only after people know who he is, do they pay heed to what he has to say. Employing Dell, therefore, was a great decision since he found companionship and felt visible around him. Also, Lacasse who was formerly uptight and very private about his feelings and his life in general found and discovered new means for letting out his anger and frustration, courtesy Scott Dell. Dell also pushed Lacasse towards dating and finding a significant other for himself. Thus, having the caretaker by his side uplifted Lacasse’s spirits and helped him develop in many aspects of his well-being.

Bond Between Caretaker and Care Recipient                        

There is a witnessed linearity between Scott’s and Lacasse’s ‘lessons of humility and acceptance’. For Scott, much like many caregivers, humility and acceptance lay in providing services to an ailing individual and be readily available at any time of the day without recognition for the same. For Lacasse, and other care recipients humility is brought in with the acceptance to rely on others completely, for the most basic human needs.

Apart from the beautiful portrayal of the bond that flourishes between a caretaker/caregiver and care recipient over time. The movie brings to light how caregivers/caretakers can empower the care-recipient by looking through their disability. Similarly, it shows how care recipients can positively acknowledge the efforts and time invested in caring (if their condition allows).

The intricacies of the relationship shared by the two is such that ‘the mind is opened and the heart is softened’.

This movie is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

In our next segment on Reel Caregiving, we will explore caregiving in another movie. Watch this space!

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