Alzheimer’s is a disease associated with old age and years beyond the golden years, so when renowned professor 50-year-old Alice (Julianne Moore) finds her day-to-day memory occasionally failing her, she has reason to be alarmed, and her worst nightmare is all but true.
The film takes a few unique choices, mostly in what parts of her mental crippling it chooses to show and the ones that it omits. There is a lot to be said about Julianne Moore, whose performance is so natural and smooth that it feels more like watching a relative than watching a major movie star. She controls every scene of the movie, notably a showstopper about 2/3 of the way into the film that evokes emotions in everyone regardless of your experience with Alzheimers.
It’s frustrating how flat and generic everyone else seems next to Julianne Moore. One exquisite performance can only carry the movie so far.
Beyond her performance, however, there is little to say about the film. It doesn’t aim to tackle very much and leaves all of the supporting cast, including Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth with one-dimensional characters who are little more than their two-word descriptors (aspiring actor, tenured professor, expecting mother). In fact, it’s frustrating how flat and generic everyone else seems next to Julianne Moore. One exquisite performance can only carry the movie so far.
Overall, the film is not particularly challenging or covers any new material. It will illicit emotion given the subject matter of the film, and it doesn’t do anything poorly. Instead, it just left me feeling like there could have been much more substance and story beyond this one particular life event. While Julianne Moore will certainly be an Oscar nominee and may even find herself with a victory, there are no other elements of the film that I see as being outstanding or worthy of recognition.