"Still Alice" portrays with consummate dignity the harrowing effects of an undignified disease. More than that, it is the unshakably forthright story of an able-bodied, thought-flourishing woman who learns she will one day, very soon, no longer know who she or her loved ones are. Beautifully written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (2014's "The Last Days of Robin Hood"), adapting from Lisa Genova's best-selling novel, the film's unsuspecting page-turner quality derives from its unforced, piercingly true observations rather than contrived gimmicks or plot points. The results are ceaselessly absorbing and uniquely haunting, shepherded by what could quite possibly be a career-best performance from Julianne Moore (2013's "Carrie")—no small claim for an actor who consistently works at the top of her game.
Dr. Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) has just celebrated her 50th birthday. She has a supportive husband, John (Alec Baldwin), close relationships with her three grown children, and is a well-respected linguistics professor at New York's Columbia University. If her life isn't perfect—no one's is—she is prospering personally and professionally, doing what she loves. Her scattered bouts of forgetfulness are minor at first—she occasionally has to search for a few seconds for the word she wants to use, or has to consult the written recipe for a bread pudding she should know by heart—but quickly increase in severity. When Alice goes for a jog and briefly loses her way on the route she always takes, she knows something is terribly wrong. The diagnosis is early-onset Alzheimer's, and, even worse, there is a good chance her kids have genetically inherited it. For a woman who has always valued her own intellect, the emotional blow of realizing her mind is failing is close to unfathomable. If she had cancer and saw her body deteriorating, it would still be awful but at least she would remain herself until the bitter end. To be physically healthy in every way but inside her brain is a vicious insult that crushes her to the core.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review