The Short- Still Alice is an emotional tale of a women slowly succumbing to early onset Alzheimer’s. Julianne Moore is one of the greatest actresses of our time and this is her Magnum Opus, her greatest performance. A tragic but beautiful look at a women suffering from a depilating disease, Moore is an Oscar lock and for me it’s about damn time.
In Still Alice, Julianne Moore plays a Columbia Professor that begins to suffer from early on-set Alzheimer’s, as the film goes forward Alice’s condition begins to deteriorate and as the film moves forward Moore begins to shine brighter. The 5 time Oscar nominee has never come into Movies biggest night as the proverbial front runner for the best actress Oscar but this year she is a mortal lock to leave with the award. Moore, already an actress who can test audiences emotions but she gives such a beautiful, heartbreaking performance that I dare anyone to go see Still Alice and not at least feel some form of human emotion. I’ll admit there was not a dry eye in the sold out Manhattan movie theater that I saw Still Alice and I would highly recommend a small bag of tissues. You have to take your hat off when seeing Moore’s subtle glances at the disease at first then very quickly you begin to understand just how sad and horrible Alzheimer’s really is. The rest of the cast includes an excellent performance by Alec Baldwin, a very good job by Kate Bosworth as well but it’s Kristen Stewart who gives the films strongest supporting performance as Alice’s misunderstood actress daughter. Stewart plays to her strengths but instead of seeing the actress who made her name as a poorly written, emotionless vampire she shows she can go toe to toe with Moore whom is considered by many as one of the juggernaut actresses in Hollywood today. Stewart is riveting and her characters relationship with her mother is a gripping one. No matter who she matches with in Still Alice Moore always shines brightest and when the dust settles on the 2014 oscar season it will be her performance that makes Still Alice a memorable entry.
Still Alice starts and ends with the performance from its Oscar nominated lead but directors and writers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland deserve a percentage of the credit for the films beautiful direction, It’s the direction that helps show just how alone Alice feels throughout even as she is surrounded by loved ones. Working from the book written by Lisa Genova, they bring to the screen more than a few of the most heart wrenching, emotional moments of 2014.
Spoiler Ahead: The films strongest scene is one after Alice has created a video for her future self, walking her now broken down mind through exactly how to commit suicide, Alice now fully overtaken by the disease is forced to make several trips between her computer in her kitchen and her bedroom where she has left pills. It’s a sequence that is carried out in such tragic fashion by the directors and acted beautifully by Moore.
Glatzer and Westmoreland let Moore do the heavy lifting, but they craft a beautiful heartfelt film that handles its sensitive subject with grace. The script based on Genova’s novel is well written, it openly searches for moments that will make the audience cry and it succeeds on multiple occasions. Moore’s performance and how the film handles Alzheimer’s are really its biggest successes, it at times feels like a ploy to make you go out and donate to Alzheimer’s research and if that was the filmmakers reason for bringing this story to the screen then they did that and then some.