The real depredations of Alzheimer's disease and its toll on the families of the afflicted are not on display in the flawed drama.
"Iris," the 2001 film that starred Judi Dench as British novelist Iris Murdoch, was particularly frank about the effects of the illness, both mental and physical. It also highlighted the special tragedy when someone who has built a career as a communicator falls prey to the affliction.
"Still Alice" should, by contrast, carry the label "Sanitized for your protection." Everyone involved is highly attractive, articulate, compassionate and virtually devoid of any flaws that would mark them as human.
What's left is a sensitive and appealing performance by Moore as Alice's mind fades from early onset Alzheimer's; her character has just turned 50. As for the rest of the story, adapted by directors and co-writers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland from Lisa Genova's 2007 novel, it has plot holes large enough to accommodate a Mack truck.
Quite sensibly, for instance, Alice's three children undergo genetic testing. Daughter Anna tests positive. That turn in the drama leads -- nowhere.
Another daughter, seems to be making bad choices both in her romantic life and as a budding stage actress. What happens next? We're not told.
Husband John bears every crisis with a preternatural calm, even when he's planning to pull up stakes from New York and move to a job at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic. Surely he must have strong emotions about his wife's illness. But, if so, they're never shown.
Having always been defined by her intellect and adept use of language, Alice is sometimes reduced to making speeches about her frustration. "Sometimes I can see the words hanging in front of me and I can't reach them, and I don't know what I'm going to lose next."
She learns to get by using her cellphone as a reminder of tasks, and the online game "Words With Friends" to shore up her vocabulary.
Alice has also made a video giving her future self instructions on how to take her own life. Her eventual attempt to do so goes awry. Yet any moral or even dramatic ramifications from this line of conduct are ignored in the movie's final -- and perhaps most glaring -- default.