Movie Review: Still Alice

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 4/5 stars

Bottom Line: An emotional and devastating look at living with Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  Well acted and well paced.  Sometimes a little over the top with the emotional manipulation.

I can think of nothing more terrifying than slowly disappearing into your own mind; finding moments of clarity becoming fewer and fewer; knowing in those moments of clarity that you are just becoming more and more of a burden on those that love you; not remembering from one moment of clarity to the next that you’ve come to the same conclusion many times already.  Such is how I imagine living with Alzheimer’s Disease would be.  Such is the story of “Still Alice”.

Julianne Moore turns in a devastatingly good performance as the eponymous Alice who is an accomplished linguistics professor who learns she has Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease and, along with her family, does what she can to live with it.  There are many real and heart-rending scenes portraying the difficulty of doing so.  Moore is backed up in her effort by a top-notch cast portraying her family, including Alec Baldwin as her husband, John, and Kristen Stewart as her youngest daughter, Lydia.  Say what you want about Kristen Stewart and her wooden acting in the “Twilight” series; I think it was more the material than her abilities because she does a fine job in this movie.

All movies manipulate your emotions on some level or another and “Still Alice” does a fairly good job of organically making you feel for each of the main characters as individuals.  There are times, though, where it goes a little overboard.  Those times are when they show home movies of Alice’s youth.  Maybe it’s trying to portray the internal thought process of an individual with Alzheimer’s or something similar, but it just seems out of place with the rest of the movie and I’m surprised they weren’t able to find a more effective way to do it considering how effective the rest of the movie is.  It is really the only fault in the movie.

Minor quibbles about failed emotional manipulation aside, “Still Alice” is well worth your time.  You get great acting and an honest representation of both what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s and what it’s like to live with someone who has the disease.  There are a few highly impactful scenes that will stick with you for a long time.  Julianne Moore deserves every award she won for her role.

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