‘Still Alice’ achingly shows mental resilience and decline

“Still Alice,” anchored by Julianne Moore’s remarkable disappearing act as a linguistics professor suffering from the early onset of dementia, is moving into more theaters as its star’s performance continues to pile up accolades.

There are no doubt a thousand different ways to deal with the confusion and dislocation that settles in with the disease, but in Alice Howland, if Alzheimer’s hasn’t quite met its match, it has certainly found a worthy warrior. It is her quick, clinical acceptance and pragmatic plans for dealing with her mental decline that form the spine of the script, which directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland adapted from the bestselling novel. It does not make Alice’s journey less personal. Particularly affecting is the bond between mother and daughter, powerfully portrayed by Moore and Kristen Stewart. We both sense and see their bonds simultaneously strengthen and weaken.

Somehow, by working on so many levels with such fine actors, “Still Alice” plays as neither tragedy nor triumph, just the aching resilience of some ordinary hearts.

Get our weekly Indie Focus newsletter