So, Julianne Moore was nominated for and (unjustly) won an Oscar for her performance here as a professor of linguistics stricken with early onset Alzheimers. The film is really very obvious in its Oscar-baitness, but it does manage some effective moments and features some good performances. Moore is actually good, just nowhere near good enough to win an Oscar. Alec Baldwin gives what is almost certainly his most sedate performance as Moore’s weary, saddened husband. But the real performance is from Kristin Stewart who is really wonderful as one of the couple’s daughters. She gets stuck with a really, really dreadful final scene, but she actually kind of almost makes it work. And she really shines in the movie’s most effective scene, when Julianne Moore approaches Kristin Stewart and begins a conversation with her, but then it suddenly dawns on Stewart that Moore doesn’t recognize her and is actually just chatting to her as she would to a stranger. It’s one of the few scenes that really lands. The rest of the movie, for the most part, feels very sanitized and Lifetime Movie of the Week. It’s a very immaculate movie in a lot of ways and all very professionally done, but it also often feels kind of calculated and chilly, instead of raw and emotional. I think it’s a bit too self-conscious in its efforts to be palatable to a mainstream audience. Still, it isn’t awful, it’s just disappointing superficial, glossy and sanitized. Whatever. 2 ½ stars.
tl;dr – movie is sincere and well-performed, but it’s ultimately an overly sanitized, disappointingly bland & superficial look at mental illness. 2 ½ stars.