Still Alice Review

9 Feb


Still Alice is, without a doubt, a very moving film, but what’s nice about it is its ability to deliver a story without relying on histrionics. It hits all the emotional beats we expect it to hit, but it also does so with more care than we might expect. Now, the movie certainly does have an intrusive score, a hastily put together world, and several underwritten supporting characters; at the same time, though, it can be a great movie when it focuses on its central character: Alice Howland, a 50-year old Linguistics professor at Columbia University who develops early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The movie wouldn’t nearly be as affecting without Julianne Moore’s performance, of course. Early on, we can clearly see that she’s an intelligent and resourceful woman, but as the disease progresses, we begin to see Alice’s face become emptier and emptier. Moore is able to communicate the panic and frustration that results whenever Alice realizes that another step in her mental deterioration has occurred, and the fact that she clearly understands what’s happening to her makes it all the more heartbreaking.

Although supporting characters played by Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, etc. have their moments, the movie tends to return to the relationship between Alice and Kristen Stewart’s Lydia, a Broadway actress who is constantly hounded by her mother about college. On that note, there are some interesting ideas explored here when Alice tries to use her disease to nudge Lydia toward college, and there are also some poignant scenes involving the two of them that rank among the best of the movie. This is a movie that touches on anything from Alice’s loved ones to society’s view of those with the disease, but it’s mainly one–and a fairly good one–about Alice’s reactions to the crumbling of her inner world.



-Kristen Stewart is good in this movie, but during a certain play scene in which her character is attempting to act, the key word there is “attempting”.

-Can The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel please come out already? If I have to sit through that trailer again, I’m going to break something.

-I still prefer Rosamund Pike’s performance in Gone Girl and Marion Cotillard in The Immigrant and Two Days, One Night, but Moore is close behind this year in terms of Lead Actress performances. Adams and Witherspoon are right behind Moore.

-Alzheimer’s is an incredibly scary disease. Thankfully, no one close to me has it, but I’ve known some people whose loved ones were affected by it.


-I’m happy the movie didn’t end right after the speech, as I was expecting it to. It’s a great scene for Moore, but I like the actual ending better. No need for the whole “childhood memories” business, though; I’ve seen it too often.

Photo credits: Still Alice, Sony Pictures Classics, Killer films


4 Responses to “Still Alice Review”

  1. killkenny16 February 9, 2015 at 3:01 am #

    I’m highly looking forward to seeing this movie sometime in the near future, though it does kinda look like a merely good movie with one terrific performance that sorta carries it. Ah well, I’m still into it.

    Also, I look forward to seeing Kristen Stewart not make me completely lose interest in a movie. A mere two years ago, I wouldn’t be caught dead typing that.

  2. Jordan Dodd February 10, 2015 at 8:27 am #

    I’m also itching to see this, tho a broken foot makes it hard to get to a cinema!! Hopefully I can see this before it stops screening, I have been looking forward to this for quite a while.

    I also have a feeling this will affect me in a pretty strong way, as the epilepsy I have creates an almost non-functioning memory. Obviously, Alzeimers becomes worse and I expect those scenes will hit me even harder after the familiar build up.

    Assumptions obviously but I really want to see this as I feel I would relate with Alice.

  3. sarah9461 February 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    I have loved Julianne Moore since she played “Franny” on “As the World Turns” 30 years ago.
    I also love Bollywood dance numbers! I hope this “Marigold Hotel” is as delightful as the first one.

  4. #peggyatthemovies February 11, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

    Good review.. I didn’t think as highly as you did for the film as a whole.. but Julianne’s performance was very very good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: