Forget me not...
Cinema Nova - Tuesday 20 January 2015, 6:30pm
Running time: 99m
Country: United States
Classification: M (Mature themes and infrequent coarse language)
Release date: 05/02/15
Cost: $5.50 (member preview)
Rating: 8.5/10 (ME 4/5, DP 4.5/5)
Still Alice is the heartfelt story of Dr Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), a renowned professor of linguistics, who receives a shock diagnosis of Familial Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 50. The movie chronicles the terrible progress of the disease and its affect on Alice, her husband and their three grown children, as she transitions from becoming a bit muddled and forgetting the occasional word (her initial cause for concern) to a time when her capability to function is majorly impaired and she struggles to hang onto any semblance of her previous life, her beloved family and the memories that she holds so very dearly.
Julianne Moore is superb in the role of Alice and truly deserving of her Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She delivers a solid performance with a rawness and vulnerability that makes it a truly engaging experience. If a weakness in the film is to be found, it would be the performances of some of the supporting cast, including Alec Baldwin as Alice's husband Dr John Howland, who delivers the role in an almost clinical fashion; perhaps a coping mechanism for his character? The surprise supporting performance was delivered by Kristen Stewart as Lydia, Alice's youngest daughter. While seemingly disengaged from family life and her mothers' aspirations from her, Lydia proves herself to be the most caring and empathetic of all the family members as Alice's condition worsens.
This is by no means an easy film to watch, however it was hard not to empathise with the characters of Alice and those around her, regardless of the viewer having any personal experience with the ravages of Alzheimer's or not. Still Alice handles difficult themes with great sensitivity, while never being patronising or trivialising the feelings and reactions of all those involved, or seeking to provide simple answers to very complex questions. A number of techniques were used cleverly throughout the movie, including a discordant musical score and blurred visuals to heighten the sense of confusion and the viewers' comprehension of Alice's own experience of her decline. This film provides a surprisingly positive (but totally heartbreaking) conclusion and is thoroughly recommended viewing. (DP)
87th Academy Awards
2015 British Academy Film Awards
4th AACTA International Awards
21st Screen Actors Guild Awards
72nd Golden Globe Awards