1. Julianne Moore - Does anyone dislike Julianne Moore? I know she's done some terrible movies, but has anyone ever criticized her performance? I don't think she's ever been bad in anything. So saying that this performance is amazing is hardly surprising, but I would go as far as saying it's her best performance to date and it is definitively the best female performance of the year. It's a sincere, nuanced and delicate deconstruction of a woman who is quite literally losing her mind. It's incredible, really.
2. The supporting cast - The part of the movie that will destroy your heart, of course, aside from the obvious, is this woman's relationship with her youngest daughter, played to absolute perfection by Kristen Stewart. I'm hardly a fan, but I will always give credit when it is due. I will also argue that she is perfectly cast in the role, but that's counter-productive. Stewart's performance (and the role, itself), is the one that shattered me. I *knew* from the beginning, that even though she is the one who defies her mother's expectations and lives by her own rules, that she would be the one to come through in the end. Yet, even as it happened, I just broke. Everyone else is perfectly cast in their roles, as well. Alec Baldwin sufficiently fills his role as the man standing next to an Oscar winning performance (2 years in a row!). Kate Bosworth continues her streak as the uptight, sensible one. Break free, Kate, break free!! And Hunter Parish, ahhhhh, Hunter Parrish. I just love him so much, but he is constantly just a pretty cardboard cut-out sitting in the background of family gatherings. When is he going to be given a role worthy of his excellence again?
3. The subject matter - I read what this movie was about a long time ago, then I sat down in the theater and within the first 5 minutes of the movie, I remembered and said (in my head), "oh fuck, this is going to be depressing as fuck". Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease. It's just about the worst of the worst. Even the character at one point states "I wish I had Cancer". It's a shocking statement, but I think I would have to agree. Losing my mind is absolutely the thing I fear most about aging. My memories are what make me, me. Good and bad, they are everything. Recently, I've had some problems with short term memory loss and it's really fucked with my head. I try not to tell anyone, and I hope people don't notice because it's such a terrifying experience. It's a lonely feeling; and even though there is no reason for it, I feel ashamed. Like, how dumb am I that I can't remember where my car is parked? The woman in this movie is a top scholar, specialized in linguistics and communication, and this disease is actively trying to destroy everything she has worked so hard to become. This disease that has no cure. What could be worse than that? I love that they addressed the suicide option, because in all honesty, it's the option I would choose. I just don't have the fight that some people have (I blame it on my extremely horrific childhood. I just have no more fight left in me), if I can't live my life as "me", then I would rather die. I'm very open about that, and it sure pisses my mother off (watching The Walking Dead, my mother, "what would you do if that happened", "oh I would have killed myself a long time ago" and then I received an hour long lecture about how everything gets better. LOL.). On another personal note, my mom's husband's mother (my step-grandmother), is suffering from Alzheimer's, which started a few years ago and has accelerated shockingly fast during the past 6 months. I always get super depressed when I see her, because she has no idea who I am. Having a conversation with her is near impossible, yet she loves to talk. This movie made me feel so guilty for getting frustrated with our conversations. If you know someone who is suffering like this, a little patience goes a long way.