The art of losing. Everybody experiences memory lapses, misplaced items and forgotten names. Alzheimer’s disease is one that grabs these problems and make them an unbearable daily struggle. In the 2014 drama, Still Alice, Julianne Moore plays Dr. Alice Howland, who happens to be a highly intelligent linguistics professor. At the film’s opening, Alice has it all, a happy family and a good career. She has three children, including Anna (Kate Bosworth), Tom (Hunter Parrish) and Lydia (Kristen Stewart). She is married to the successful doctor, John Howland (Alec Baldwin).
The movie quickly takes a depressing turn, as Alice begins to forget random words. Her behavior quickly degrades, as she goes for a run and ends up lost. After several visits to a neurologist, Dr. Benjamin (Stephen Kunken), Alice learns she is suffering from early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, she is diagnosed with a rare form of the disease, which comes with a high risk of being passed from one generation to the next. This revelation forces her children to get tested and face their future or ignore it and wander through life blindly.
At the same time, the disease takes a toll on Alice’s career and professional ventures. The students begin to complain about her courses, which forces the university to take action. Since she has difficulty remembering words, she can no longer give her signature, fiery speeches. Instead, Alice retreats into herself and becomes a homebody, while everyone around her continues to move on with their lives.
While she is still somewhat sound minded, Alice masterminds a plan, which will allow her to end her suffering, when she can no longer remember basic information. When this time comes, will she be able to end it all? Or will her family come together to make Alice’s last days enjoyable, if forgettable?
Still Alice is definitely an emotional ride that will beat you down and drag your crying throughout the entire 101 minutes. Alzheimer’s is a heartbreaking disease, which Still Alice displays in a bleak, but beautiful manner thanks to a strong performance from Julianne Moore. Despite a few hiccups, all of the actors brought their characters to life, but Moore should be credited for her performance, which kept the film interesting, compelling and depressing. It also explores how selfish family members can be, when a loved one begins suffering from a debilitating disease.
This film certainly won’t be for everyone. If you want to explore the ugly truth of Alzheimer’s, be sure to check out Still Alive. I enjoyed the movie, which deserves an 8 out of 10.