Alzheimer’s disease does not discriminate when it waves its lethal wand and strikes the gifted, challenged, dedicated, irresponsible; two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.
Julianne Moore as Professor “Alice Howland” is luminous, shining as a woman of magnificent formidability in her career, as a wife and mother; she is fifty years old, diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s; devastating, debilitating; helpless as it cannibalizes her essence. Moore, who studied those afflicted, imbues the role with powerful, throbbing reality; achingly, while cognitive, Alice prepares for the inevitable; “still” Alice tapes and instructs the diminished version on the ultimate coping method.
There is no salvaging the predictability of the film; from the “onset” the conclusion is ordained. Nonetheless the film captures Alice’s limitless love for her husband “John” (Alec Baldwin; the script fails him), her three children, especially iconoclastic “Lydia” (Kristen Stewart’s in-depth performance is key to the success of the film) a struggling actress whose painful, poignant understanding, perseverance, kindness never falter; their relationship anchors “Still Alice”.
Precipitously, terrifyingly Alice succumbs to her frightening fate; her vibrancy dissipates; her valiant struggle to recall, especially “words” (heart-wrenching because she is a linguist) smothered by the septic fog of the unmoored, lost; Julianne Moore’s luminosity lends sublimity to the unjustly ravished spirit.