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Still Alice (2014) : A Review

Julianne Moore plays Alice Howland in a moving performance as a happily married linguistics professor with three beautiful, grown children. Respected and successful, Alice finds her life in shambles when she receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, forcing her and her family to find their bonds thoroughly tested. Her journey through her quickly deteriorating memory is both heartbreaking and inspiring.

Still Alice is the perfect film for a rainy day in without the sappiness of a Nicolas Spark’s movie. But don’t tune in looking for tips of how to deal with Alzheimer’s patients. Julianne Moore may have bagged an Academy Award for her performance, but the story is a little too Hollywood to be real.The plot twist begins as Alice stumbles over the a word, which as a linguistics professor – is bound to cause some panic. Moore’s performance demonstrates the battle of dementia and the attack it has on her intelligence and independence- in the most Julianne Moore’s way possible.

Even with her inability to remember her daughters’ names, the location of her phone, or where the bathroom is, she always seems to have her loving, patient husband (Alec Baldwin) by her side at all times. Whether he’s taking her out for ice-cream, going for morning runs, or comforting her during late night panic attacks – he never seems to lose his patience. He’s the Prince Charming for any Alzheimer’s patience.

The only family problem she seems to have is her daughter’s (Kristen Stewart) decision to skip college to become a struggling actress. Meanwhile, Alice’s MacBook and iPhone are used to play memory games and puzzles while her two other beautiful children lead perfect lives. I mean, having twins – one boy and one girl – just seems too good to be true, right?

Visually, the film, shot on a lowish budget and with the look of a Lifetime Movie, is underwhelming. At times slow, other times too smooth to be about dementia, Still Alice falls a little flat and conventional given its subject matter and Moore’s searing performance. Rather lack luster, it’s predictable and ambiguous at the same time.

It’s Julianne Moore that steals the spotlight. She will have you at the edge of your seat at times, reminiscent of a psychological thriller. Other times, she will have you on the verge of tears, as you feel for her desire to have a that little extra time during the peak of her career.

Overall, this is the perfect film for a night in by yourself. There’s not much depth to the film as there is only one plot line – allowing you to tune in and out of the film. Besides, the actors and actresses are all very aesthetically pleasing.

Rating: 7/10