Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
“Still Alice” – based on the novel of the same name by Lisa Genova – is a finely performed, well-paced film, and while it may strike some emotional chords with a female demographic, I found it to be extremely hard to relate to. However, that’s primarily the only flaw I had with this film.
Alice Howland (Moore) is a renowned linguist whom after a few strange episodes of forgetting words, and not remembering where she is, discovers that she has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The film rests solely on Moore’s performance, which works well. She is in every single scene of the film, and all the other actors seem to be there just to back her up. Alec Baldwin gives a fine performance as Alice’s husband. And although she was only in a few scenes, Kate Bosworth was able to bring some emotion to this story. On the other hand, Kristen Stewart blinks and stammers her way through scenes as she is accustomed to doing. I don’t dislike Kristen Stewart, but in my opinion it’s unwise to have her acting opposite Julianne Moore in a scene. Most of the emotional scenes take place between Moore and Stewart, and Stewart does not deliver at all.
Moore’s performance is so subtle, while also being erratic at times, that you can’t fully see the change she makes with her character, until toward the end of the film. Alice Howland, after discovering her disease, leaves a video message for herself on her computer; and when she watches it months and months later, you’d believe it was two different women. That moment alone is deserving of Moore’s recent Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
As stated before, I found this film hard to relate to, and that stems from the writing. The story falls into too many of the generic character ruts that we’ve seen all too often. The talented, independent woman, with the brainy, and handsome husband. Three adult kids: a son who is a doctor like his father, a daughter that is married and perfect, yet struggling to have children; and the youngest daughter with her dreams of acting while not contemplating college. As this disease sets in, Alice is able to quit her job and move out to their family’s house on an island as her husband contemplates taking a year off from his job in academia and being with her. I’m sure people like this exist, but to a Midwestern man, I can not relate to it. Although I can quite easily relate to the heartbreaking reality of family members living with Alzheimer’s.
As a whole I liked the film, and it did get to me on an emotional level once or twice. Julianne Moore once again reminds us of the talent she has, and the story itself points the finger at a disease that not enough people are talking about.