Still Alice Review

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still AliceStill Alice is one of those remarkable films that elegantly treats a tragic topic without leaving you feeling fearful and depressed. This is mostly thanks to Julianne Moore’s luminous performance of 50-year-old Alice Howland, an accomplished professor, wife and mother of three who is diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s.

If you’re like me, you watch Still Alice very closely, realizing that you’ve made many of the same memory slips, and wondering if, god forbid, you too could be suffering from the same disease. But Alice’s version of it has an even more devastating twist still that I won’t spoil for you. Suffice it to say that instead of making the film unbearably sad, it becomes an interesting character study of how she and her family deal with it.

Not only is Moore’s performance Oscar worthy, but the supporting cast is at their career best. Alec Baldwin, whom I think is mostly overrated, is superb as her husband in denial. Kristen Stewart (yes, Twilight‘s Bella) is at her absolute career peak as the youngest daughter who defies family expectations to become an actress. Kate Bosworth is cool and composed as the eldest, an attorney with fertility issues. Each responds to Alice’s malady differently, and each evolves as best they can. Throughout Still Alice, you can’t help but ask yourself, how would I respond if my mother or spouse was diagnosed with this mainly incurable disease?

But most of all, you ask yourself, “What would I do if it were me?” Alice has a number of very clever ways to battle it, but in the end, she can’t help but be defeated. At that point, when similar films become sappy and maudlin, Still Alice transcends to become radiant. The ending is, in a word, perfect.

Rated PG-13

1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

 

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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