Still Alice is Unforgettable

In 2007 neuroscientist turned writer, Lisa Genova, self-published her debut novel, Still Alice. The novel followed a Harvard professor, Alice, who begins to suffer from early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Although the initial release was limited in size, Genova’s novel gained great popularity and praise from reviewers and publications. In 2009 the book was rereleased and became an instant bestseller and appeared on The New York Times bestseller list for more than 40 weeks. Fast-forward to 2013 and the Lookingglass Theater Company adapted the book for the stage and was in production in Chicago from April to May of that year. Shortly thereafter, screenwriters Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland decided to adapt it for the silver screen.

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

The film adaptation of Still Alice follows Dr. Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), a renowned professor of linguistics at Colombia University. She is happily married to John Howland (Alec Baldwin), who also works at the university, and together they have three grown children. When Alice starts to notice that she is becoming more forgetful- especially during her lectures- she decides to visit a neurologists. After the visit, she receives the dreadful diagnosis that she feared. Alice is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which is only going to get worse. The diagnosis begins to not only challenge her personal life and her relationships with her family, but it also challenges her professional career. ¬†Alice and her struggle are full of heartache, devastating discoveries, and inspiration.

Still Alice is a wonderful film adaptation that is understated and precisely powerful. The film delicately deals with Alzheimer’s and in the process displays a potent story about the terror and realization of losing one’s sense of self. Still Alice is definitely a film about Alzheimer’s disease, but it is also a movie about one woman’s unique story. The film has compassion and grace. Sure, there are several predictable elements and clich√© moments found throughout the film. However, no other film in recent memory has done a better job at showcasing the frustration, pain, and coping that comes with having this or any disease. The audience gets a first hand account of the daily routine that Alice goes through. Day in and day out, Alice faces the same types of fears, anger, and suffering over and over again. It is heartbreaking and emotionally draining to watch Alice go through this tragedy. However, screenwriters and co-directors, Glatzer and Westmoreland, never let the film get too sappy. They brilliantly capture the courageousness and inspiration still found in Alice’s story. The real beauty of this film is that it never loses any ounce of humanity and emotional connection.

The real merit of the film, however, solely belongs to the fantastic Julianne Moore. Every time I watch one of her movies, I fall in love with her all over again, and this film is no different. She is simply one of the best actresses of today and continues to display her wonderful talents. Her performance in Still Alice is nothing sort of amazing and is a performance that is among the finest you will have seen in the past year. Julianne Moore as Alice is extremely poignant and profoundly moving. She carries the film’s finest moments and greatest themes on her back. She also masterfully remains emotionally vulnerable and sincere throughout the picture. Her performance will simply stay with you and that is because in Alice we can see our loved ones and ourselves. Moore’s performance is universal and wholeheartedly astute. Still Alice also has a great cast that is highlighted by a truly great, sweet performance by Kristen Stewart. However, this is Moore’s film and she is the real reason why people will be talking about this film. In short, no words would do any real justice for Moore’s heartbreaking, inspirational performance.

Still Alice is a graceful film adaptation that fluidly and intelligently brings to light a disease that we might all have to face in some capacity. Julianne Moore’s emotionally raw performance champions the film’s sincerity. Thanks to Moore and Still Alice‘s thought-provoking subtleness, it is a moving experience that you simply won’t forget.

The cast includes: Julianne Moore (Don Jon), Alec Baldwin (The Departed), Kristen Stewart (Snow White and the Huntsman), Kate Bosworth (Straw Dogs), and Hunter Parrish (It’s Complicated). It was written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.

3.5 out of 4 stars

-By Louie Coruzzolo

In case you missed our video review for this week, check it out below:


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