“Alice” (Julianne Moore) is bursting with life and vitality, with plenty to live for, she goes about her busy life, planning for the future but fate or genetics has alternative plans.
A film depicting an intelligent woman, a wife and mother of three children, who falls victim to early onset Alzheimer’s disease is always going to be tough watch.
However, as much as such a story can be, this does reaffirm the human spirit and maybe, just maybe, makes you appreciate your lot in life, even if for some it’s not a lot.
Adding to the irony, “Alice” (Julianne Moore) is a Professor of linguistics and in mid lecture she forgets some crucial information, no big deal, we all have senior moments sometimes.
Forgetting a few details leads to forgotten dinner parties and other signs all is not well. Alice seeks professional opinions and then after lonely sleepless nights, enlists her husband’s help (Alec Baldwin). Faced with a terrifying situation, there is first denial, then we “can fight this together” before reality blithely obliterates the well intended mental defences, hastily placed in the way.
This is a very personal story, how the diagnosis affects Alice, her husband and especially her children. Those looking for a happy ending should look elsewhere but to say this makes for bleak viewing is largely not true. The film never shies away from telling the truth but only covers a period in Alice’s life that remains watchable. We experience glimpses of the darkness ahead but it is fair to say, we leave the story at the right time.
Without the right actress in the central role, this would represent TV disease of the week fodder. However, Julianne Moore lifts the story well above the average, turning in an Oscar winning best actress performance, that left no surprises on the awards evening.
Moore portrays Alice as intelligent, sensitive and loving. A woman all too aware of the inexorably rising tide that will gradually rob her of everything she is and has so carefully built. A more cruel disease is hard to imagine.
Baldwin provides sterling support as do the actors playing Alice’s grown up children, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish and Kristen Stewart.
If you decide to watch a film that accurately depicts a relatable character falling victim to early onset Alzheimer’s disease, this is the only film you need to watch.
A towering performance from Moore who makes the film engaging, heartfelt and most importantly bearable, all without flinching from the central tragic story being told.