Still Alice

RATED-(PG-13)-101 MIN-2014


Julianne Moore’s performance in the somber and poignant (Still Alice) which won her the Oscar for Best Actress, will stay with you afterwards in this fine film. Moore always seems to completely commit to her roles, and I think she is one of our finest actresses of the last twenty years . This is a small and intimate portrayal of ones woman’s struggle, along with her family, with the very early onset of Alzheimer’s due to a gene passed on by her father which gives the person a 100 percent chance of contracting the disease at some point in their life.

Alice Howland just turned fifty, and is a renowned linguistics professor who teaches at Columbia. She also does lectures at different universities. She is a woman who’s world revolves around her sharp mind and the words she uses to convey to her students the beauty of language. She is a workaholic academic, and is married to the also brilliant scientist John (Alec Baldwin).They have three grown children and seem to be a happy healthy, middle age couple.
Anna (Kate Bosworth) the oldest, is married and expecting. Tom ( Hunter Parrish) is still bringing dates homes, and youngest Lydia ( a very good Kristen Stewart) is an aspiring actress doing theatre funded by her dad in LA.

All seems good in their lives, until little moments of memory loss start to affect Alice. She forgets what she is going to say at a lecture, while out running, she gets lost, and doesn’t remember where Columbia is, even though she has worked for years. This starts to trouble the always on top of it Alice, so she goes for some tests, and is told she probably has early Alzheimer’s. At first, she keeps this to herself, as the family is busy with their own lives and John is mulling a move to the Midwest to work for the Mayo Clinic. This certainly is Moore’s film, and these early scenes are tremendous,as she tries to with her clinical and precise mind, try to stay calm and be practical and logical about her plight. You feel the loneliness and it is prominent throughout this movie.

You start to get a semblance of what a person who is diagnosed with this cruel disease, must go through as they contemplate the idea of disappearing in your mind and forgetting all that you knew and all that you love.

When she finally reveals her diagnosis to her husband and kids, they are shocked at how such a young woman could have this disease that strikes older people. When she tells them since it is genetic and she may have passed it on to them, they are stunned. It is a heartbreaking moment to see her tell the kids that if they test positive for the gene, it is 100 percent certain they will get it. She is crushed that she has passed this on. All of the actors are wonderful. Baldwin, who is always solid, hit’s the right beat as the husband who loves her dearly, but might not have the capability to take a sabbatical and watch her fade away. Stewart, is also a standout, as the child who steps up to the plate for her mom, whom she does not agree with much, but loves deeply. Moore and Stewart’s scenes are real and very touching. There are no answers here, just a quite, somber analysis of one persons struggle with this cruel and lonely disease. All of us either have a family member, or know of someone who has struggled with this, and this movie will make you pause and consider it again.

You should see this movie.

watch the trailer: