Alice (Moore) is a respected linguistics professor and with a happy marriage to John (Baldwin) and 3 grown children Anna (Bosworth), Tom (Parrish) and Lydia (Stewart). When she starts to forget little things, she does not ignore it and takes herself off to see a doctor. For many months she undergoes various tests, both physical and intellectual, eventually being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
It is a particularly harsh diagnosis as she relies on her memory for most of her work, lectures and classes and she defines a large part of herself via her intellect. In a cruel twist, there is evidence that people with a high level of education can deteriorate faster.
She is devastated, as anyone receiving such a diagnosis would be, and struggles to cope with the present, let alone her future. Her family is equally distraught by the diagnosis, particularly as the disease is genetic and she may have passed it on to her children.
As Alice struggles with her new reality, her family comes together to help as much as they can. As her disease worsens, they all face many heartbreaking challenges but also share some tender moments that, had they not made themselves so available to their mother, may never have happened.
While she still can, Alice prepares for the future in a way that many may not agree with but if it were me, I would do exactly the same. She understands what will eventually happen to her and prepares not only for herself, but for her family as well.
Still Alice is a movie that will break your heart. My mother worked for many years with Alzheimer’s patients and said it is the saddest of all diseases, most particularly for the family. As shown here, many times it is not the patient who suffers but the family. As Alice herself noted in a speech, she is not suffering, she is struggling.
Julianne Moore is mesmerising and the Oscar is hers to lose. As Alice deteriorates, as she movies in and out of this disease that has such a vicious stranglehold on her mind, Moore treats her character with a quiet love, dignity and respect.
In what is a credit to the writers, including Lisa Genova who wrote the novel of the same name, Alice is never mired in drama or tears. Her story is told with warmth, love, compassion and grace and I feel lucky that I was able to share in such a lovely experience.
Oh and yes I did shed more than a few tears so bring your tissues!
Love Flick xx
Director : Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Starring : Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae, Hunter Parrish, Stephen Kunken
Running Time : 101 minutes
Release Date : 29 January 2015