Cert: 12A Runtime: 101 mins Director: Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland Cast: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, Kristen Stewart and Hunter Parrish
I used to be curious and independent and confident. I miss being sure of things.
Julianne Moore finally won an academy award last Sunday for Still Alice. I’ve been pro Rosamund Pike during the whole season and it’s a great shame she didn’t win. I needed to know why Moore toppled Pike? What is Still Alice about then? Fifty-year-old Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) leads a busy life as a Columbia University linguistics professor and mother of three. But lately she’s been suffering from worrying mental lapses. Without telling her family, she decides to go for neurological tests. She then receives a devastating diagnosis: she has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Even worse, her condition is genetic and her children stand a 50% chance of inheriting it. Alice struggles to hold on to her identity and dignity, with the support of her loving husband John (Alex Baldwin). As she makes the bold decision to live in the moment, she also reconnects with her aspiring actress daughter Lydia (Kristen Stewart).This is definitely some of the best work Moore has done. We have multiple moments in the movie where the camera sticks to her for minutes and it is incredible how much, even without any camera movement, she holds the screen on her own. That is something that really not many actors are capable of. Also very good is all the cast around her, especially, in my opinion, Alec Baldwin who isn’t given a lot to do, but does it flawlessly.
The directors mould the cast and the excellent screenplay into a very fluent drama, that has both great emotional heights, but more than that, where the film really succeeds, is the small, intimate moments where even the most simple things seem to fall apart.The core problem of the movie that it’s a weepy. It has to pull on your heartstrings, but it can’t, absolutely only do that and unfortunately that is what Still Alice is doing for 95% of its duration. I really don’t mean this mean-fully, because as I said the drama is so good and natural throughout, despite one or two of enormous clichéd stumbles, that you don’t realize until the end it is doing only that. Yet, it does not make any statement or doesn’t look at its material with a solid perspective. I understand that it may be the filmmakers’ attitude to portray the situation without being intrusive, but in this particular situation you are doing it and only manipulating me without giving me any payback. Look at this year’s “Fault in our Stars”, which I liked, it did pull on heartstrings and manipulate you. I’m not intending manipulate in a bad way, it is what movies do, but as I said there has to be a payback, but it did that and made a dam huge statement, so much so, that right from the first minute you understood it was a solid take on its material, something that Still Alice only flirts with.