Still Alice is not a happy movie, but it is an honest movie – a real movie. In today’s age of cinema, movie-goers should appreciate gems like this one.
It explores early-onset Alzheimer’s disease as Alice (Julianne Moore) first starts to feel the effects. Alice is only 50, and she’s defined herself by doing it all – being a successful linguistics professor at Columbia University, having three children, having a strong marriage… the list goes on. However, what awaits Alice is the deterioration of everything she’s prided herself on throughout her career. The art and knowledge of linguistics will soon escape her along with the memories of her family, her life, and even her sense of self.
Alice is diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s – familial. It means that the disease is hereditary and the chances of passing it on are 50-50. Once Alice learns of the news, she breaks it to her children (Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish). One discovers they have it, one is in the clear, and the third one doesn’t want to know.
Julianne Moore is a strong contender for the Oscar with this role. She delivers a brilliant and heartbreaking performance that is the backbone of the film. She captures the emotion and even the irony of her character’s situation perfectly.
Kristen Stewart and Kate Bosworth deliver strong performances as well, yet are shadowed by Moore. The same can be said for Alec Baldwin, who portrays Alice’s husband. This is Moore’s movie – as it should be.
Even the audience feels drawn into Alice’s deteriorating world. As the film progresses, scenes start out fuzzy and then slowly come into focus. This created the illusion for the audience of being stuck inside Alice’s mind while being surrounded by confusion and uncertainty.
Still Alice is based on Lisa Genova’s 2007 novel of the same name and is equally as sincere. It’s not a film for the casual movie-goer. It’s bleak and hopeless while brilliant and emotional. It’s one of 2014’s best films, and a must-see in my book.
Still Alice Clip
Photo Credit: AP / Sony Pictures Classics