THE SCARIEST horror film in years, Still Alice charts the symptoms, diagnosis, and degeneration of Alice (Julianne Moore), a linguistics professor at Columbia who, after finding herself forgetting words and getting lost on runs, is diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of Alzheimer's. It's hell for Alice, and also for her caring but taxed husband (Alec Baldwin) and her three kids (Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish), all of whom are affected by the vicious disease.
There's hardly a frame of Still Alice that doesn't keep Moore's face close and in sharp focus, even as her increasingly confusing world blurs around her. Moore is exactly as good as one would expect: Alice's struggle is impossible to look away from and jarringly disturbing. One can't always say the same for the script (by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, based on the novel by Lisa Genova) or the direction (by Westmoreland and Glatzer), which can veer from bland to manipulative. But Moore—backed up by strong turns from Baldwin and Stewart—overrides any and all obstacles. I can't think of a better film to see if you want to cry five or six times and then live the rest of your life in a state of constant terror.