Still AliceDVD of the Week Thursday, May 7th, 2015
dvd of the week
In her Oscar-winning role, Julianne Moore is Alice Howland, a renowned professor of linguistics at Columbia University, married to a handsome and successful scientist named John (Alec Baldwin), and mother to three children, slightly petulant Ann (Kate Bosworth), bright and handsome Tom (Hunter Parrish) and struggling actress Lydia (Kristen Stewart). When she starts forgetting things, like her lectures or her keys or how to get home during a run or, worse for a linguistics scholar, her words, she goes to a neurologist, who seems at first not concerned, and then as the forgetting worsens, quite concerned. She keeps the problems hidden from John for a while until her doctor convinces Alice that, yes, this is early onset Alzheimer’s, and her cognitive functioning will only get worse. They then tell the children and, to make matters worse, tell them that this kind of Alzheimer’s is genetic, so they might get it too. As Alice’s condition worsens, the forgetting becomes constant, and the humiliations almost totalizing, you’ll probably be unable to stop from crying. Richard Glatzer and the late Wash Westmoreland, the gay couple who also wrote and directed Quinceañera and The Fluffer, do a great job with the source material, a pedantic novel by a neuroscientist, but I wish they’d done more to make it more than a dramatic clinical case study. It’s a stunningly well-acted, sensitively written, finely directed, full-of-prestige film that is almost unbearably sad.
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