Still Alice, featuring an Oscar winning performance by Julianne Moore, tells the story of Alice Howland (Moore) a highly esteemed linguistic professor at Columbia University whose world is rattled when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Still Alice is essentially a fairly good lifetime movie elevated by a truly great performance by Julianne Moore (she deserved her Academy Award – although, I wish it had been won for Maps to the Stars). The direction is so straight forward as to be overly simple and the editing so routine and predictable that you could believe that it was made for TV film rather than for general release. However, Moore’s brilliant central performance is supplemented by commendable efforts from the supporting players. Alec Baldwin isn’t cheating on his wife for once and provides ample support for Moore. Kristen Stewart especially proves that she has more in her retune than staring vacantly at Robert Patterson’s sparkly chest, as Moore’s youngest daughter.
What is the most impressive aspect of the film is that it does not attempt to sugar coat its central character. Several times through the film Alice uses her illness as an excuse not to attend meetings (she claims she forgot she had them, when in fact she hadn’t) and to manipulate her daughter into attending university. Moore is particularly strong in this scenes, playing the grey areas of the character perfectly. It is a shame that the performances and string aspects of the script are not supported by the directing or editing. While, Still Alice, was never going to require an Iñárritu style approach, the direction and camera use does seem almost maddeningly under par for a cinema release with a star with the talent of Julianne Moore at the helm. Still Alice is still well worth seeing, but, maybe wait for it to come on TV, its shot like it belongs there.
Still Alice is showing at FACT now. For show times click here.