The movie is aimed to be a masterpiece of intimate naturalistic story-telling, and almost succeeds. The photography and direction are masterful, and the two actors couldn't have delivered better performances. But as such films often are, this film has been written to choose larger-than-life aesthetics over realism. Why do the two men have to be accomplished artists? Because a successful novelist losing the ability to read and write is more tragic than an average person's? The height from which to fall needs be more dramatic to accomplish Aristotelian aesthetic effects. Similarly, the partner has to be an accomplished pianist, so that his emotional performance in the situation, which is dramatic textbook in that it captures a person's transformation through conflict to acceptance, can be linked to an aesthetic one, which indeed concludes the film. Like the scenery, the two men's relationship and their social environment are all ideal--no hint of the resentments or disappointments that inevitably arise when two people have lived together for twenty years, or of the social difficulties that gay couples still have to face. The effects of dementia themselves, as minutely as they are being captured in some ways, in the end still are completely sanitized. (Five members of my closest family have died of Alzheimer's disease.) Stanley Tucci's character is allowed to be his wonderful and heroic self, in love with the wondrous stardust humans are made of, to the end. The option of suicide is presented, the viewer feels, not only as a real ethical choice to be negotiated in the viewer's mind, but also as a device to keep this movie heroically beautiful. The closest the movie comes to capturing psychological truth is in Colin Firth's character's reactions scene by scene, brought to life by Firth's performance, which is, as always, miraculously true through its restraint. The movie clearly is Oscar material (not necessarily a compliment); if it is singled out, at least I hope it will be Firth who will be nominated for his role in this film.