Review: Still Alice

Anyone with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s, or any other neurological disorder, will find this harrowing account of one woman’s struggle with the disease painfully honest. It’s no wonder tissues were handed out prior to a recent Auckland screening.

Thankfully, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, in adapting Lisa Genova’s bestselling 2007 novel, don’t manipulate the subject matter needlessly, which is more than could be said of the growing number of Hollywood films about illness. (Hilary Swank in You’re Not You, anyone?) Still, it does occasionally suffer, particularly during the family scenes, from a sense of made-for-TV-movie syndrome.

Viewers may wonder early on where such a story can really travel – most of us are familiar with the degenerative effects of the disease. But thanks to Julianne Moore’s startlingly moving performance, and a script rife with interesting literary and scientific references, this transcends its simple storyline.

Naturally, the success of the film lies squarely with Moore. Not only is she thoroughly deserving of her recent Golden Globe win, she’s top contender for the Best Actress Oscar. As we witness the linguistics professor’s declining acuity as she fumbles for the right words or loses herself, quite literally, in familiar surroundings, Moore never once obscures the independent, intelligent character behind her affliction, playing Alice as though there’s merely a debilitating gauze over her mind.

Alec Baldwin also gives a solid performance as her caring but frustrated husband, and Kristen Stewart, though still unshakably emo, is well cast as Alice’s understanding actress daughter. Still Alice is Moore’s film though, and she all but eclipses her castmates.

‘Still Alice’ Movie Times