DRAMA; 1hr 41min
STARRING: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish
The heart of the matter: Moore
Fifty-year-old Columbia University linguistics professor Dr Alice Howland (Moore), also a lovely, accomplished wife and mother, is starting to lose her mind to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Her memory lapses are concerning and she does her best to keep them from her ambitious medical-researcher husband (Baldwin) and their three children (Stewart, Bosworth and Parrish) until, in an overwhelming wash of pain, she can no longer cope alone.
Moore conveys Alice’s mental imprisonment with an economy and grace that have you hanging onto her slightest gesture. At 50, Alzheimer’s is extremely rare. In Alice’s case, it’s familial, as well, which means her already confronted children could inherit the gene that causes it. The horror of this makes Alice angry, ashamed and above all deeply afraid of her loss of self, a paradox cruelly highlighted by Moore’s glowy youthfulness.
Maximising the emotional impact, film-makers Richard Glatzer and Walsh Westmoreland’s adaptation of neuroscientist Lisa Genova’s 2007 novel keep its lines clean and the muted spotlight trained squarely on their star, whose unwavering command of it is one of the most haunting fade-outs you’re ever likely to see.