It's a birthday dinner and Alice Howland is turning 50. Her beautiful family surrounds her and she's on top of the world in her career as a successful linguistics professor. Life is just peachy, till it's not.
Handing out a lecture one day, she forgets what she was about to say. A couple more similar incidents and she innately knows there's something wrong. That this is not one of those regular moments of forgetfulness under stress.
Facing up to accepting she has younger-onset Alzheimer's disease is difficult, and it isn't because of the disease, but how she perceives herself; someone who's forgetting the very words that are the cornerstone of who she is. Her husband is in denial after she gives him the news and the next hardest task is telling the kids.
The film highlights how this disease can affect not only the person who has it, but the entire family. Julianne Moore is a powerhouse of talent in her chosen profession, and she imbues 'Still Alice' with a quiet and graceful approach that cuts deeper than you realise until tears well up and fall down your cheeks. Unless you have a heart of stone, I suggest you take a pocketful of tissues with you.
Written by Lisa Genova and published in 2007, 'Still Alice' was her first novel. It was originally self-published and sold out of the trunk of her car for almost a year before it was bought at auction by Simon & Schuster.
It won the 2008 Bronte Prize, was nominated for 2010 Indies Choice Debut Book of the Year by the American Booksellers Association, and was winner of the 2011 Bexley Book of the Year Award. It spent over 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 25 languages. Not bad from an author who once said: "I'm a Harvard-trained Neuroscientist, a Meisner-trained actress and an entirely untrained writer!"
Hope is also being pinned onto the coat-tails of 'Still Alice'. Hope that it will bring this disease, one that makes the top 10 list of killer diseases in the world, to the forefront of awareness. This is no longer an old person's disease; younger people are getting diagnosed more often, so lets hope this attention will bring more funding needed to find a cure.
Check out our Australian Alzheimer's website if you would like to make a donation or find out more details. They also have a Facebook page which is currently sporting an image from 'Still Alice' as its cover page.