In 2005, decorated New Jersey police detective Lt. Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) was living the good life. Her career was going well, she had just moved into a beautiful new home and she was enjoying her relationship with the love of her life, Stacie (Ellen Page), with whom she had formally established a domestic partnership under the state’s recently enacted law governing such arrangements. There were some trade-offs, such as Laurel’s belief in the need to keep her lifestyle secret for career advancement purposes, but, on balance, everything seemed to be going well. That all changed one day, though, when a nagging pain thought to be a pulled muscle turned out to be something far more serious – Stage IV lung cancer.
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Most of us probably go through life expecting it to continue on, almost in perpetuity, without anything ever coming along to disturb that pattern. But the virtual certainty of change generally doesn’t allow this. Sometimes it even violently shakes us out of our sameness and complacency, taking us places we never would have expected and reminding us of what we have – and what we might stand to lose. Those lessons are driven home with stark poignancy in the dramatic new release, “Still Alice.”