I was given this film as a gift for christmas and so sat down the other night to watch it. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this feature, but what I do know is I’ve a new-found respect both for Julianne Moore, portraying “Alice” in such a real and true way but also the current sufferers of this awful disease and their families. This film really does do the representation of the disease justice, in the sense that it depicts the monumental loss that occurs in it’s victims, in a harsh but honest light. It doesn’t ‘sugar-coat’ or ‘romanticise’ any of the crucial narrative moments, which is one of the reasons I found myself becoming so involved in the story of “Alice”.
In summary the film follows “Alice Howland”, a renowned linguistics professor – happily married with three grown children. All that begins to change when she starts to forget words and everyday things such as her way around the campus she works on. Her doctor diagnoses her with ‘early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease’; along the way Alice struggles not only to fight her inner decay, but to make the most of her remaining time finding peace with her loved ones and making simply living worthwhile.
Although Kristen Stewart is probably still trying to brush off the ‘Twilight’ Saga from her career, she manages to successfully portray the only member of her family who understands her mother and the mental stresses she’s going through. It’s clear that “Alice’s” husband, “John” is obviously devastated at his wife’s diagnosis, however it seems to take him somewhat longer to make sacrifices for his wife’s mental wellbeing. He also doesn’t want to accept the diagnosis until he has had medical confirmation which leads me to not exactly love his character.
As for Julianne Moore, I haven’t really had the pleasure of seeing her act (other than in the Hunger Games features) and so naturally, this film proves why she is such an admired actress and also why she won the academy award for this role. “Alice” is a strong, intelligent woman when we first meet her at the beginning of the film, in that moment she’s confident and full of purpose. As she gets diagnosed and time goes by, “Alice” becomes a shadow of herself, whose mental health deteriorates at an alarmingly fast rate. This is the key part that Moore portrays with such skill and graceful pain; the viewer can’t help but get deeply emotionally involved with her character. We feel for her, we cry with her, we wish she would get better; although it is clear that is sadly not going to happen. Alice knows this as well which makes her story even more challenging, difficult and painful for the viewer to watch.