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Still Alice

08 Jun

Alice Howland (played by Julianne Moore) has a very settled, happy life. She loves her work as Professor of Linguistics at Columbia University, her marriage is solid and she and her husband John (by Alec Baldwin), have raised three great children. Now adults, Anna (by Kate Bosworth) is married to Charlie (by Shane McRae), Tom (by Hunter Parrish) is a successful lawyer and Lydia (by Kristen Stewart) studies drama in Los Angeles. Alice starts to notice some weird things happening to her … just tiny things, but still … things that worry her. She forgets words usually second nature to her, then loses her way around Columbia campus, then forgets her son’s girlfriend – what on Earth’s going on?  Distraught with worry, she sees her doctor and after several investigations she is diagnosed with Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease – very rare in a person Alice’s age of early 50’s. Hugely distressed, she now faces the challenge of a terminal degenerative illness herself and the added risk that she may have passed it on to her children. Alice bravely steps along her significantly changed life path and faces her unknown future …

I can’t imagine what such a situation would be like to face – knowing that you are afflicted with a degenerative disease that will cause your memories to disappear more and more, until you don’t know who you are or what your life is. Also, that no matter what support and love you have around you, this will happen to you alone and nobody else will know how it’s affecting you. This would be tragic and a huge challenge for anyone. However … there’s something missing in this movie. The story is all there – and it’s interesting to watch this intelligent, ambitious, hard-working and successful woman face her illness and all that comes with that. But somehow the relationships, her portrayal of her own experience and the general mood just misses the mark for me. It’s not the deeply moving piece that I anticipated. Does Julianne Moore deserve the Oscar for this? I’m not sure – perhaps it’s that she is so good and so accurate in her portrayal of Alice, that she makes it look like nothing – perhaps that’s the answer. Alec Baldwin’s seems to be just “going through the motions” with his character, John, who appears superficial and almost extraneous to the story. Even the children’s experiences – each different, as is appropriate with people – are all weirdly and disappointingly distant. It is based on the novel “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova. Julianne Moore also won a Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors’ Guild award for her performance here. Well done, I guess.

Made in 2014. Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.

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Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Movies

 

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