I remember when my mother was dying — or, more accurately, when I realized she was dying. My first thought was that it couldn’t be happening, because life without her wasn’t imaginable. I looked around to hit the STOP button somewhere, but there just wasn’t one. So I resigned myself to the awful fact that I was indeed going to lose her, and all I could think about was how I could fill the time I had left with her with things that were meaningful and express to her all she meant to me.
The Genius of Marian is ostensibly about filmmaker Banker White’s late grandmother, the painter Marian Steele, and his mother Pam’s desire to memorialize her work. But Marian’s art winds up playing a very small (though important) role in the film, which soon becomes a three year study of Pam’s own decline due to early-onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 61.