I can see why Julianne Moore is nominated for Best Actress for her role in Still Alice. Moore plays Alice with perfection and the natural realistic traits of someone with early onset Alzheimer’s that it seems as if Moore and Alice are one. Moore’s performance, if I had to sum it up in three words, made the film thoughtful, touching, and inspirational.
The main focus of the movie is Alice Howland; she is a linguistics professor at the University of Columbia and is known by her colleagues and students as one of the best. She lives in a beautiful house with her loving husband and has three grown children. She is about to be a grandparent to a set of twins, and life seems to be going her way until she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.
Alice notices something is wrong when she forgets the simplest things that came easily to her before. The horrifying turning point in the film is when she is going for a run on campus and all of a sudden she stops for a breath, and when she looks up everything in the background is fuzzy and she can’t remember where she is. Later that night while she and her husband John (Alec Baldwin) go to bed, she wakes him up because she is very disturbed and can’t sleep. She admits to John that she has been seeing a neurologist and he told her she might have early onset Alzheimer’s. Not wanting to believe this, John gets upset and tells Alice that it’s too early in the stages and it’s normal to forget things here and there.
As the movie progresses, Alice’s mind is slowly deteriorating; she starts to forget her children’s names, her favorite frozen yogurt, where she is and who she is. As the family struggles to remind Alice who they are and their significance to her, they also have to make major decisions of how they are going to take care of Alice; for her daughter Anna (Kate Bosworth) has two twins to take care of, her son Tom (Hunter Parrish) is going back to college, and her youngest daughter Lydia (Kristen Stewart) lives in Los Angeles. John is offered a better job in Missouri and wants to pick up and move, but knows Alice does not want to and it won’t be good for her.
Baldwin was very convincing as a loving, caring husband. Moore and Baldwin have such a memorable chemistry together that it reminds me what great acting can do, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them in more movies together. Their conversations in the movie were so simple and naturally moving that it seemed as if I was watching a documentary with a real world couple and not a fictional one. They were so unbelievably amazing together, and I commend the casting directors for their spot on choice.
Lydia, who seemed to be the closest daughter to Alice, was a major character in the film. When I first saw Stewart on the screen, I assumed I would be seeing Bella from Twilight, and in the beginning her acting was very similar to that of her other roles.
Towards the end, however, the chemistry between Stewart and Moore as mother and daughter becomes beautiful and touching. I completely forgot that I was watching Stewart, but rather I was watching a caring daughter and the lengths she would go through to take care of her mother.
Still Alice reminds us how precious the mind is and how we don’t take enough advantage of it. It makes us thankful for having the ability to remember and communicate with the ones we love because once the mind is gone, it’s gone for good.
IMAGE TAKEN from lisarosman.com