Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland
Alice Howland (Moore) is a college professor who has just turned 50 and appears completely fine and healthy. Away from her career, she lives in a nice home and has a great family life. Her entire life begins to change, though, when she starts having small lapses in her memory.
After visiting a neurologist on a few occasions, she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. From there, the film explores her struggle with the disease and the effect it has on her family.
“Still Alice” is an emotional, heartbreaking tale that fully explores the pain and suffering a person with Alzheimer’s has to go through. Not only does it show the effects of the disease, though, it also displays the loneliness that one going through this situation must face.
Alice herself has a great quote in the film where she says she would rather “have cancer,” due to how much her intellect suffers and how difficult it is for other people to relate to her.
As the movie focuses heavily on the main character, Julianne Moore really had to carry the whole film on her back, and she really pulls it off. Her performance is heartwrenching and the portrayal of the disease through her speech, reaction and mannerisms create a scary window into what a person with Alzheimer’s has to go through. It’s without a doubt one of the strongest performances of the year.
The movie begins to falter just a bit when it comes to the supporting cast, though.
The biggest problem is that the family members such as Alice’s daughter Anna played by Kate Bosworth aren’t given enough scenes that show them rallying around to help. Some of the family members could have simply used a little more depth.
Then there’s Alice’s other daughter, Lydia, played by Kristen Stewart. Stewart does have much more screen time, however, while Stewart is fine in the role, her performance doesn’t carry the same weight that Moore’s does. The moments between these two characters should have been much more powerful. While they are still good, they are not great.
The movie is also somewhat lacking in a sense of artistic style. From a technical standpoint, the movie simply lacks any flair.
With all that said, “Still Alice” is still a phenomenal picture. Moore’s performance and the way the film captures her character’s intense difficulty with the disease is reason enough to see the film. This is one of the most emotional films of the year and Alice’s journey is very moving. 4 out of 5.