Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Week 11: Still Alice

Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Writer: Screenplay by Richard Glatzer Wash Westmoreland based on the novel by Lisa Genova
Seen: Sunday 15th March
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: Malteasers 
Mood: Reflective

Still Alice is an engrossing look at one woman’s struggle with Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease which affects our most taken for granted ability of memory. The person it afflicts is Alice Howland played by Julianne Moore, a successful Professor at Columbia University New York, who at 50 is at the top of her chosen field of linguistics. Alice’s personal life is also great with three adult children and a strong stable relationship with husband John played by Alec Baldwin. So when the news is broken that she has this incurable disease a large black line is scratched into her picture-perfect life.

The casting of Moore was a master stroke as she is impeccably suited to the role of Alice. Her performance is first-rate acting that deservedly got her an overdue Oscar this year. We are with Alice as her life irrevocably changes but more importantly we care for her, predominantly due to Moore’s ability to immerse us in Alice’s world. Moore is certainly one of the most versatile actresses out there, she also justly won last year at Cannes for her memorable albeit quite different performance in David Cronenberg’s somewhat dark Maps to the Stars (2014).

There has been criticism that Still Alice is nothing but a TV film of the week and while there might be some merit to that, because in cinematic terms there is nothing distinct about it. However, for me it doesn’t have to be aesthetically creative or have a ground breaking script. There is no camera trickery or narrative twist to distract us from the sad, realistic and thought provoking journey we are on with Alice and her family. 

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