August 05, 2015

Film Review—Still Alice

Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), a linguistics professor at Columbia University, is forgetting words. These slips of vocabulary start to become one of many signs that she may be losing her memory, and she is eventually diagnosed with early onset familial Alzheimer's disease. As Alice comes to accept her condition she comes to realize that the ramifications will spread to everyone in her family.

The performance of Moore is fantastic. In every scene there is a little bit less Alice, a little bit less of the life, the career, the self. Her subtle, moving performance is alone worth seeing the film, and in fact the only reason to see it. The material feels as though its lifted from a Hallmark 'disease-of-the-week" TV drama. The rest of the cast is uneven with the characters being types rather than people with predictable development reserved only for a select few. And despite Moore's heart wrenching performance, the script does not fully utilize the various aspects of Alice's ever receding life, with details like her career as a linguist used more as short hand for memory loss than engrossing exploration.

Although overly sentimental and over worn material, Still Alice has a solid, moving performance that overcomes the films shortcomings.

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