101 min - Drama
Review: Matt Mungle
Julianne Moore has a wide range of acting dynamics in her repertoire.
She can be romantic, adventurous, political, and dramatic. In
the new film STILL ALICE she takes on Alzheimer's in an unforgettable
performance. It is an emotional journey that is touching and thought
provoking. Tackling a subject that impacts many requires a gentle
touch that keys in on accuracy. To over act would come across
as flagrant and to down play the symptoms would seem unsympathetic.
Moore balances the role perfectly.
Alice Howland (Moore) is a brilliant linguistics professor who
is well known and tops in her field. She has raised three grown
children while keeping her marriage happy and fulfilled. When
she starts forgetting words and having trouble with remembering
simple things she hopes it is something simple. The diagnosis
she gets though shakes her and her family to the core. So begins
a sad and emotional journey for not only the characters on screen
but those watching as well.
Alice's husband John is played magnificently by Alec Baldwin.
It is reported that Baldwin was requested for the role by Moore
so that they again would have the chance to work together. Baldwin
can often come off brash and sarcastically uncaring. In this role
we see a man that has to watch his wife spiral down a dark hole
with no way to intervene. As you would expect he has days of frustration
and at times impatience but he handles those moments with open
handed caring and a raw, nurturing spirit. Even when he doesn't
share his emotions outwardly you can see the turmoil in his eyes.
This makes the role believable and draws the viewer into the world
of the characters.
Though the story revolves around Alice we do see the effect on
her family, friends, and co-workers. Her three grown children
react as you would expect. They are predictably written with each
one having a well worn demeanor. From the rebellious artist (Kristen
Stewart) struggling to make it as a stage actor to the prim and
proper daughter (Kate Bosworth) trying to manipulate and control
each gathering. They each play the part as written, it is just
that it wasn't written all that well.
The hardest part to watch is the slow deterioration of Alice.
Here is this brilliant mind being stolen from her in early life.
Those watching that are at the midlife point will be able to appreciate
the gravity of the situation. It would be like watching a guitarist
lose a hand or a great singer their voice. I woman who made her
career with words can longer remember them or speak them correctly.
It is beyond sad.
STILL ALICE is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, and
brief language including a sexual reference. It is an adult drama
both in theme and content. There is nothing crude in this film
and everything is there to show the life Alice and her family
face. Thought not expertly written it is performed beautifully
by Moore which makes the script seem better than it is. It is
safe to say that without the performance of Moore this would be
a lackluster fluff piece and not the stark reminder of the horrible
disease that Alzheimer's is. I give it 4 out of 5 scrabble words.
again this is due to what Moore and Baldwin bring to the screen.