Still Alice (REVIEW)

Still Alice

An amazing performance by Julianne Moore as an Alzheimer's sufferer raises this film to instant classic status.

Julianne Moore achingly and realistically plays a middle-aged woman who develops Alzheimer's in the new film Still Alice.

Moore, in the best performance of her career (and having just won the Best Actress Oscar for this film) plays Alice Howland, a highly successful college lecturer with a loving husband John (Alec Baldwin) and three grown children - Lydia (Kirsten Stewart), Anna (Kate Bosworth), and very handsome Tom (Hunter Parrish). Alice lives a comfortable and happy life in Brooklyn, that is until she starts forgetting things. One day in class, she struggles to find a word that she's used many times. Then one day on a run at her university campus, she gets lost and disoriented. Worried, she visits a neurologist who tests her on her memory, and she's unable to repeat a name and street he had told her to remember at the beginning of the session. Soon enough, Alice is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease . But it's getting worse, and John and the rest of the family realize that it's going to be hard and tragic to deal with her deteriorating condition. More memory lapses occur; at Christmas she forgets the ingredients to bread pudding, a dish she's made at least one hundred times. And she reintroduces herself to her son's girlfriend, minutes after just meeting her. Alice decides to record a video to herself, a video that gives instructions on where to find pills to kill herself if she can't remember the answer the three personal questions. Meanwhile, she tries to get her daughter Lydia (visiting from Los Angeles where moved there to pursue an acting career that's going nowhere) to move back east to go back to school for a real career (and to physically be close to Alice). Unfortunately, Alice is still getting worse, no longer working, one day at her family's beach house can't find the bathroom, and wets herself. It is up to John to pick her up and change her. Unfortunately, this is the reality of someone living with Alzheimers, and Still Alice perfectly and tragically captures this.

Moore is absolutely amazing. She gives a performance that is so real, so emotional, so tragic, and very raw. Moore spent time with Alzheimer's patients to capture their every nuance, and she did. She is very deserving of the Oscar she has just won, her first after five nominations. She's also picked up every Best Actress award given this year. Baldwin is perfectly cast as the husband, and Parrish as one of her sons. Stewart, who is always broody and cold in most of her films, really shines through in this movie - the relationship with her mother looks and feels very real. Directed and written by real life couple Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (whose previous films were gay in theme), perhaps in response to Glazer's battle with ALS, they have done an excellent job in providing a vehicle for Moore - it's a perfect yet highly emotional film in every sense, and a must to watch just to see Moore's performance.