Thursday, 21 June 2018

Affirming look at a life’s end

A film about the decline of a bright, busy fifty-something woman after being diagnosed with early

A film about the decline of a bright, busy fifty-something woman after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s may not sound immediately compelling. No happy ending, not many comedy moments and pathos hurled by the weeping bucketful.

But perhaps surprisingly, while audience members  may not exactly leave with a warm glow, they will feel uplifted, grateful and determined to make the most of what and who they have.

Julianne Moore rightly won an Oscar for her role as a Columbia University linguistics professor who struggles with memory loss before the devastating news. She turns in a restrained and delicate performance as Alice Howland, a happy wife and mother who reacts first with disbelief, then with pragmatic acceptance and resolve.

The film also deals with Alice’s relationships with her three children, including daughter Lydia, played by Kristen Stewart, and her bristly husband John, played by Alec Baldwin. All of the performances are excellent and it is only the over-insistent chamber-led score that sounds a shrill note.

Ironically, this is a film that will linger in the memory, as everyone is affected. Now, or in the future, someone they love, or themselves, will experience the horror of realising that all they are is slipping away. It is a reminder that now is all we ever really have.







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