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Still Alice

I was warned before I watched this film so I think it’s only right that I should warn you too.

You will need tissues, you will cry, it is sad.

This is about a woman who I presume is in her fifties as they don’t give her exact age, only that she is young for her disease.  She is an academic, she has proven herself professionally and done it raising three successful children whilst married to an equally ambitious husband.  We enter her life when she has it all, a great career, strong marriage, loving family and her hair is ‘Julianne Moore fabulous’.

But we cringe as she forgets what she wants to say at a presentation, worry as she forgets where she is on her daily jog and feel the anxiety with her when she begins tests with a neurologist who doesn’t say, I’m sure it’s nothing.

I don’t think I am giving a spoiler here as it’s essentially the whole premise of the film – Alice has early on-set  Alzheimer’s.  She has a rare form of the disease that is familial Alzheimer’s which means she got it from one of her parents and it’s possible she will pass it onto at least one of her children.  If you have the gene then it’s 100% likely you will suffer the disease.

In 96 minutes you watch the harrowingly fast decline of this intelligent, well articulated, got-it-together woman into someone who doesn’t recognise and cannot speak to her daughter who becomes her full-time carer.  It must be the worst form of the disease, it’s just brutal.  There is no hope, no cure, not really anything to ease the pain of it all.

Julianne Moore plays Alice magnificently.  You relate to her horror, her despair, her shame at what this means for her and her family.  I think the most upsetting part for me was when she tells her children and she says sorry, because she may have sentenced them to it, just by being their mum.

We are following her journey but of course that also of her family.  Not particularly her friends or colleagues as this disease quickly removes a person from society.  But those you are intimate with, those who love you the most, they walk with you and suffer with you.  Because to not be  recognised by your mother or to lose your wife whilst you still share your life with them is just unbearable.

This is a film about something very sad.  It is most certainly worth watching.  I watched it with a couple of girl friends and we cried together, shared how it made us feel and then watched some Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon afterwards to lift us out of the depths of despair.

You should be very proud of yourself Julianne.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 10.17.52 pm

I’d give this an 8 1/2 out of 10.  It is 10 out of 10 in quality but too sad for me to put it close to a perfect film to watch.

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