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Still Alice ****

If you know someone struggling with Alzeheimers, then put this film on your ‘to see’ list.

I say that because what Still Alice does effectively is to take you along as this terrible disease first strikes and then ultimately devastates Alice (Julianne Moore). Alice is Dr. Alice Howland, a successful professor of linguistics who is diagnosed with early-onset of the disease.

The film, based on the book by the same name by Lisa Genova, excels because of the insights it gives the viewer to what it means for an individual to be stricken and gradually lose oneself. Julianne Moore is simply terrific as Alice. Not only is she able to get into the mind of Alice, but she also somehow gets into her body. You see the deterioration of both mind and body.

The film is not as successful, for me, in the portrayal of Alice’s family members, her husband John (Alec Baldwin), her elder daughter Anna (Kate Bosworth), her son Tom (Hunter Parrish) and her younger daughter Lydia (well played by Kristen Stewart). They are almost minor characters to Alice.

While Alice’s family are all affected by what is happening as the disease progresses, just as are all families who struggle with the ‘fallout’ of Alzeheimer, it is really Alice’s story, made more powerful because Alice was a linguist and has focused her professional life on the issue of language and communication. She is able to describe in words what it means to lose words and to lose one self.

If you truly want to get some understanding about what this mental decline means for the person suffering from it, see Still Alice.

Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland both wrote the screenplay and directed the film.