By William Wolf


What happens if Alzheimer’s strikes a person who is famous as a professor whose specialty is linguistics? As we see in “Still Alice,” co-directed and co-written by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland and an important entry in the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, there is a special edge to the tragedy as verbal loss increases.

Lest one think that the film is simply morbid, the extraordinary performance by Julianne Moore as Alice lifts the drama so that we can empathize with Alice and her intellectual ability to spark a fight against the disease by making candid appearances to discuss her plight as it progresses and using special tools to do it.

We watch the onset of the illness little by little via the signs that appear. Alec Baldwin plays her husband, who has a busy career himself, and we witness the strain in their marriage no matter how supportive he wants to be. But one bright side is Alice getting closer to her daughter, Lydia (Kristen Stewart), with whom she has had her differences.

Moore has on many occasions demonstrated what a fine actress she is, and here she has taken a role that is especially challenging. The result certainly merits award potential for her.

This is the kind of film that might help families faced with members who suffer from Alzheimer’s, as well is for those who professionally work with victims. The filmmakers have done a service by making it, and in Moore they have a leading lady magnificently up to the task of giving the film a very special quality. Reviewed October 5, 2014.


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