When it comes to choosing my movies, a story about a woman with illness will always trump a car-chasing-money-laundering-fist-fighting heist. I prefer to get inside a tale that’s relatable, something close enough to home so it speaks to my soul. Still Alice, the film about a linguistics professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, is that- a real life look at living with the disease; both as the afflicted, and as the affected family member.
The scene starts off with Alice, a super witty woman who’s quick with her words and strong on her feet, celebrating her 50th birthday with her husband and 3 adult children. As the illness progresses, she starts to lose what matters most — her ability to communicate and her sense of self. There’s a pivotal moment in the movie when Alice clarifies her inner battle, I am not suffering. I am struggling to stay connected to who I once was.
There’s so much goodness going on –from the performances (Julianne Moore!), to the NYC setting (OK, so I’m biased towards films shot in my city), and the relationships — particularly between Alice and her youngest daughter, Lydia – the heart of the story.
But most notable, this movie elicits emotion. Gratitude, compassion, and empathy were bursting from my seams as I watched Alice spiral deeper into this being that bared no resemblance to her true self. The morsel of hope came via Lydia who served as the solid reminder that unconditional love, the kind without judgement and expectation, doesn’t need words to be communicated.