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Still Alice


Stars: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae, Hunter Parrish, Stephen Kunken

Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland

This is not only a successful tear-jerker, but also a (rather wrenching) introduction to the ongoing effects of a particularly aggressive form of Alzheimer's. Although this is principally an affliction of old age, it can strike much earlier.

Moore, in her Oscar-winning performance, plays a university professor of linguistics who suddenly finds herself forgetting words, and things that people have previously told her. All too soon, she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, a rare (and hereditary) form of the illness that rapidly consumes her life to the point where she struggles to recognise her own (grown-up) children.

The directors rightly gloss over the day-to-day progress of the affliction and settle sensibly for key moments, the highpoint of Moore's declining months coming when she is able, following words by marker, to address and give inspiration to a gathering of fellow Alzheimer's sufferers.

The star, an expert at such demanding roles (can anyone remember her in a comedy?) is right on the mark as the woman who finds everything she has known and achieved in life just draining away in a fog of forgetfulness. It's a tough watch but the quality of the performances and sensitivity of the treatment makes it bearable.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Curzon/Artificial Eye. Colour (unspecified).
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 28 Feb 2015