Still Alice

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Still Alice Movie Poster Image
Moore turns Alzheimer's drama into acting master class.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

You may lose your mental faculties when suffering from Alzheimer's disease, but that doesn't have to mean failure or complete loss of identity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alice is smart, bold, and brave, even in the face of a tragic prognosis. She's also very resourceful and does the best she can to continue living her life.

Violence

Plenty of sadness, but no violence.

Sex

A husband and wife kiss each other and make vague allusions to intimate relations. One mention of oral sex. Brief glimpse of the side of a woman's butt.

Language

Some swearing, including "s--t," one "f--k," "hell," "goddammit," and "a--hole."

Consumerism

Pinkberry is mentioned, and some scenes are set in the shop. Also Apple and Insignia logos/products.
 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking. One scene shows a woman collecting a powerful narcotic and nearly drinking all of it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Still Alice tracks the frighteningly fast progression of early-onset Alzheimer's disease in Alice (an excellent Julianne Moore), a Columbia University professor. This deeply affecting film doesn't shy away from its depiction of a tragic and unrelenting condition; Alice is seen unraveling, a prospect that could be very upsetting for younger/more sensitive viewers. She has mood swings, is increasingly unable to take care of herself, becomes incontinent, and has difficulty communicating. There's also some swearing (including very sparing use of "s--t" and "f--k"), social drinking (wine at dinner, etc.), a reference to oral sex, and a despondent moment of utter despair.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byB-KMastah February 14, 2015

Surprisingly well written and nicely avoids a made-for-TV status.

My main worry about Still Alice was that it would be emotion porn. It isn't, though, and even if it isn't quite great, its performances and script hel... Continue reading
Adult Written bykipwalker44 May 28, 2015
Kid, 12 years old February 19, 2015

Grapples with mature topic-

The movie itself was great- it moved along at a good pace and was just well done. There are a few curse words throughout the movie, mostly when the main charac... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byJflores14 February 14, 2015

one of the best movies of the year! And the most tragic!

Julianne moore preforms amazingly and brings to life the horrors of disease. I was blown away by this film and it will do well in the box-office! CONTENT:(SPOIL... Continue reading

What's the story?

An accomplished linguistics professor at Columbia University, Alice (Julianne Moore) lives in a brainy world full of words and neural nimbleness. Her husband, John (Alec Baldwin), is a successful researcher and professor, too, and her children are hyper-verbal overachievers -- except for her youngest, Lydia (Kristen Stewart), a young actress who relies on her gut as much, if not more, than her head. Alice is at the top of her game. But then, during a presentation -- one of hundreds she's given in her life -- she discovers that the words are escaping her. She recovers but soon ends up losing her way while taking a run around a campus that's all too familiar. She's also forgetting people, misremembering dates, and losing track of her lectures. When she discovers she has early-onset Alzheimer's, Alice finds herself at a crossroad: Who is she now, and how will she keep hold of herself and her life?

Is it any good?

With utmost grace and deep empathy, Moore delivers another sensitively sketched performance -- this time of a woman on the verge of losing her memories and, in a way, her life. On this front alone, STILL ALICE is a beautiful tragedy to behold, Moore's face and body the canvas for a haunting and oh-so-human tale. To watch Alice lose her grip on the life she has known is to experience her pain and suffering and confusion. With Moore as our proxy, raw and open, we're with Alice on her perilous journey.

That said, the rest of the movie approaches the topic at somewhat of a remove. It lives in its head, not its heart. It's possible this is purposeful: Alice and her family, especially John, appear to rely on their brilliant minds more than their emotions. Still, the rest of the characters and their ensuing struggle with the diagnosis seem muted to the point of distraction. When Alice's mind and body fail her, you expect them to crumble, too. Or at least undergo a revolution themselves, quiet as it may be. It's a missed opportunity. Better to lock your gaze onto Moore, who carries the film impressively.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of sad movies like Still Alice. Why do we like to watch movies about tragedy and hardship? What can we take away from these emotional experiences?

  • How does Still Alice shed light on Alzheimer's disease? What does the diagnosis mean for Alice and her family?

  • How do Alice's family members react to her news? How does this affect her, and vice-versa? Do you think the movie authentically depicts a family in crisis?

Movie details

For kids who love drama

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate