HOLLYWOOD—I’ve argued that Julianne Moore might be one of America’s finest actresses’ who rarely receives the accolades she so deserves. I think all of that is about to change. Moore’s performance in the drama “Still Alice” is a revelation that sheds light on a disease that is crippling America.
Moore portrays Dr. Alice Howland, a Columbia university linguistics professor, whose world is turned upside when she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Moore portrays the character with such charm, poise, tenacity that it’s impossible to turn your attention away from the screen. When she isn’t there, you’re anxiously awaiting her return.
The simplicity of directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland to capture those minute moments to emote feelings in the audience that one would expect is fantastic. That’s not only a testament to fine directing detail, but also from the actors and actresses on the screen.
While much light is shed on Moore, her co-star Kristen Stewart delivers some of her finest work to date as Alice’s youngest daughter Lydia, who has the strongest bond with her mother.
She slowly sees the debilitating side effects of the disease, as does the audience. It’s not something that just happens like a fireball. Lydia’s attempt to maintain some sort of normalcy with her mother who is slowly, but surely slipping away is downright haunting. Not just because she realizes that her mother is losing all of her memories, but the audience sees Alice’s struggle to try to retain her sense of self.
The slight problem with the flick is the underuse of some of the other characters in the movie including Alice’s husband portrayed by Alec Baldwin and her children portrayed by Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish. They’re apart of Alice’s life, but not to the degree that one would expect.
That inability to fully utilize those characters strengths presents a film that is good from being stellar in my opinion. Without a doubt Moore’s performance alone is reason enough to see this movie. It’s an actress at the top of her game, that makes a mediocre movie that much stronger because of her subtle acting abilities. As a viewer you go from fearing the debilitating effects of the disease, to feeling absolute sadness from the fracture of a family because of it.
“Still Alice” not only reminds and educates the audience on the unsuspecting effects of Alzheimer’s it reminds us just how important family is, because with the blink of an eye everything can be taken away.