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Film Review: Still Alice

On January 28, 2015

By Sophia Whitfield

Based on the bestselling novel by Lisa Genova, Still Alice takes a look at the confronting world of early-onset dementia. Julianne Moore has won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her outstanding performance as Alice.

A 50 year old Professor at Columbia, Alice is also a wife and a mother of three grown children. She is admired by her peers for her intellect and her work ethic. Increasingly over a period of months she finds herself unable to remember a word, sometimes in the middle of a lecture to her students. Then one day when she goes for her daily run, taking her usual route, she finds she has no idea where she is or how to get home. This prompts her to see a specialist who gives her the diagnosis she has not expected. At the age of 50 she has Alzheimer’s disease.

As memory fails her, Alice battles with her own loss and the one her family will continue to endure. The heartache and cruelty of the disease is writ large on the screen. Moore gives a quiet, haunting performance that will strike a chord with many who have been affected by this disease.

Alec Baldwin plays John, Alice’s husband, who is sure there must be a cure, a way to prevent the disease stripping away the Alice he once knew. He is withdrawn and impatient with the disease that has taken so much from him. Kate Bosworth and Kristen Stewart give a terrific balance as two sisters who are poles apart. One has followed the path her mother wished for her and the other has not.

It is Alice’s constant tests for herself – the writing of lists to memorise later, playing Words with Friends that are heartbreaking. In the early days of her diagnosis she is desperate to stem the decline that will come.

Still Alice is a moving film that deals respectfully with a cruel disease.

Still Alice is released in cinemas across Australia tomorrow.

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