Still Alice: Film Review

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Julianne Moore deserves all the awards season wins she received for this because her performance is so convincing and affecting and Still Alice is a beautiful film with a great supporting cast.

Moore stars as Alice, a high-flying linguistics university lecturer who begins to forget things. After a series of tests, she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which is rare for a person in their 50s. We follow Alice’s life as she struggles to deal with her condition and how it affects her family.

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This could have easily fallen into the same trap as many other illness dramas with the simple formula of ‘something is wrong with me’ – diagnosis – it gets worse – they die.  In some respects, it does fit the mould (not totally) but it is elevated from being unoriginal and dull by a stellar performance from Moore, who makes you care about Alice so much. The film shows her struggling to cope in her eyes, rather than from her family’s and it makes you care for her so much more. You feel her sense of panic when she gets lost, when she can’t remember where the bathroom is and will her to recall the word she wants. What is great about this is that she isn’t helpless – sure, she has moments were she feels sorry for herself and wishes she could go to work rather than sit home all day – but she tries to find ways to remember things, to keep her brain sharp as long as possible and to remain involved with her family. It isn’t as depressing as you expect it to be, it’s actually more about making the most of life.

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The supporting cast play an integral part too. Alec Baldwin is wonderful as the workaholic husband who doesn’t ever consider slowing down his career to help his wife, because he can’t bear to see her that way. Kate Bosworth, Kristen Stewart and Hunter Parrish are well-cast additions to the family.

This is moving because it makes you realise how lucky you are and how awful it must be to have this disease. It makes you question how you would cope in that situation. Many people cried in my screening but I only had tears in my eyes when Alice gives an uplifting speech at support group. Her determination to not let the disease ruin her life was very powerful. The ending felt a tad abrupt and unsatisfying, but I’m still happy that it didn’t finish where you would expect.

In cinemas now 

SEE ALSO: Julianne Moore’s Still Alice Q&A 

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