Still Alice

by | Jan 29, 2015 | 0 comments

Julianne Moore Gives What May Be Her Best Performance Yet

Julianne Moore is one of the greatest at her craft. Her memorable performances in The Hours, Boogie Nights, and The Kids Are Alright, have found her a spot among the greats. Despite that, she’s been denied an Academy Award. But with her latest turn in Still Alice it must be undeniable now: she’s reached legend status.

Still Alice is the harrowing story of a 50-year-old woman who is diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s: Alice Howland (Julianne Moore). Alice teaches linguistics at Columbia University, she is happily married with fellow medical teacher John Howland (Alec Baldwin) and has two daughters and one son. The oldest of her daughters, Anna (Kate Bosworth) is also married and is planning to have a child, Alice’s son Tom (Hunter Parrish) is trying to settle down with a girl, and Alice’s youngest, Lydia (Kristen Stewart), is looking to be an actress in Los Angeles.

The film perfectly transitions the lovable Alice into her absent state. The experience is tough for the audience, and thus gives us the smallest of tastes into the tough lives that Alzheimer’s victims and their families suffer.

While all the praise has been going to Moore, both Baldwin and Stewart cope well with their roles. The reason that they may have been overshadowed is that the film is primarily focused on Alice alone, so the roles of John and Lydia are diminished. Nevertheless I was glad that Baldwin finally stepped out of his Woody Allen comfort zone, and Kristen Stewart left her Twilight days behind, which was the big surprise of the film. Previously it seemed as if she was an incapable actress with what we saw in Twilight, but in Still Alice she’s given us all hope that she could make it as a serious actress.

But of course we must talk about Moore. What I noticed was most admirable, was that most of her scenes were all one shot. I was especially marked with the scene in which she first goes to see her neurologist. The whole scene is a close-up on Moore and her mastery of her character was clearly defined there and then. Her simple stares and innocent repetition of sentences are heart breaking. However, the film doesn’t want you to specifically feel pity for Alice, it wants you to experience her dismay in a realistic and objective emotional way.

Driven by Moore’s warm performance, the film is an example of how no matter how perfect and safe we may be in this world, we must cherish every moment as if it were our last. 

  • OVERALL MOVIE RATING 76% 76%

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What film best captures the pain of alzheimers? Let me know in the comments section.

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