Thursday, November 12, 2015

Still Alice (Movie Review)

Still Alice starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth and Kristen Stewart is an intense family drama based on the book by Lisa Genova.  The film received several industry awards and landed the Oscar for Best Actress for Moore which was well-deserved.

Once a renowned linguistics professor at Columbia University, fifty year old Alice begins to notice changes in her memory.  After a neurologist diagnoses her with early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease, a rare form of the illness that progresses rapidly, Alice fights the stigma of this disease and tries to hold on to her career and family before all is lost.

Alzheimer's is a terrible disease that threatens (and eventually succeeds) to destroy the essence of a person's soul. The film depicts Alice's personal struggle and frustration as the illness deteriorates her brain. Viewers are shown how others will change their perceptions of those with the disease and how those struggling with it must also change their own perceptions of themselves.  Living with Alzheimer's teaches both the patient and their loved ones how to master "the art of losing" - losing memories, losing relationships, losing the ability to do simple everyday things - losing the person you love.

This film was extremely depressing - not just sad - but one that stays with you because Alice could be anyone of us or our loved ones. To see what the disease does to a family, the sacrifices and difficult decisions that must be made, as it watches the person they love slip away, is heartbreaking. In my opinion, this is the worst imaginable disease because it strips you of your most precious asset - your memories.

Watch Offical Trailer

I found myself refusing to really process what was happening to Alice while watching the movie, because, if I had, I would have been crying throughout the entire film. I am sure this is a denial felt by many families caring for someone with the illness. The ending was anything but an ending - and that was what made it perfect. We are reminded that we must live each day to the fullest, to "live in the moment" and grab happiness at every moment possible. Although admittedly depressing, Still Alice is a beautiful film that I highly recommend.

Still Alice is rated PG-13 for thematic content and language including a sexual reference.