Still Alice - 3.5 Stars
Julianne Moore shines in this emotional, but not over-played look at a young person developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Still Alice brings to light the confronting, compelling and challenging world of early-onset dementia. 50 year old Alice Howland is a Columbia professor, gifted researcher and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children. On a day like any other she sets out for a run along the route she always takes, but soon realises she has no idea how to find her way home. She is lost - a feeling that will only grow for her and those around her - as medical testing confirms early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
This movie could have easily been played up with big dramatic emotional speeches, long camera shots and sad music, but luckily it wasn’t. The movie was very matter of fact with how it dealt with the character’s condition. There were emotional moments to be sure and it certainly made the audience feel depressed at times, but it never quite brought out the tears in me. The writing team of Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland were superb in capturing the real element of Alzheimer’s disease and the effect in can have on the people around them.
Everyone in Australia can now see why Julianne Moore won the Golden Globe earlier this week; she gives a truly heartbreaking and moving performance. She demonstrates the decline in health of her character subliminally and she is almost unrecognizable towards the end of the film.
While she is superb in the film her husband, played by Alec Baldwin is not. You could have easily replaced him with a plank of wood and got a more emotional performance from it. While his character is obviously trying to hold back his emotions his lack of acting makes it seem that is character is mean and heartless rather than trying to hold things together. There are so many better actors who could’ve played this role. One of her daughters is played by Kristen Stewart who really demonstrates her acting ability and takes her away from her “Twilight” type-casting. She over the course of the film shows real progression and character development.
Overall a well a well written and acted film let down by Alec Baldwin’s poor acting.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Icon Films