Julianne Moore won her first Oscar for her performance as Alice Howland in this emotional film, Still Alice. It’s a sad story, and unfortunately not too uncommon in real life, either. Still Alice is worth seeing because of Julianne Moore’s performance, but also because Alzheimer’s disease is a reality, and its important that awareness continue to grow for it, as Julianne said in her Oscar acceptance speech.
An intense scene takes place between Alice and herself, via a recording she makes of herself, earlier on, and it’s this scene that really hits hard, in the emotion department. When I first watched this scene, I was wandering what sort of impact it would have on the remainder of the film, it wasn’t what I expected. My initial reaction was negative, but now, thinking back, I understand why the directors decided to play things differently, and it’s refreshing to be wrong, when you’re trying to predict the next scene. Predictability can be comforting, but when film can escape from the predictable, and have the ability to shock, then it’s done it’s job. This is Alice’s story, and she is the main star here.
I must state, that I wanted more strength in the relationships between Alice and her family, I just didn’t feel that aspect of the film. Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart spend most of the screen time with Alice, and it’s these two relationships that the film focuses on, but it also attempts to include Alice’s other 2 grown children. I think that in a Novel, such as the one Lisa Genova wrote, the one this film is adapted from, there is time for these all important character relationship developments, but in the film, there just isn’t enough time, or enough important scenes to cement the family ties. Regardless, there are touching moments between Alice and her husband, and her on-screen daughter Stewart.
We need to take note here that one of the directors is Richard Glatzer, he suffers from ALS and can’t speak. It’s a marvel that he was able to direct this film, and its inspirational, to say the least. When directing he uses a text to speech app on his iPad. Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart both dedicated their viral ‘ice-bucket challenge’ to their Still Alice director. In her acceptance speech Juliane Moore related that co-director and husband of Richard Glatzer asked him, when he was diagnosed with ALS, what he wanted to do, travel, study, and Richard Glatzer answered, “I want to make movies.” Well, now he was directed a Best Actress film, how many can say they’ve achieved that!?
Still Alice is touching and may make you shed a tear or two, but it’s a nice reminder that often greatness can come from difficult and trying circumstance. Let Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s Still Alice inspire you.
TRIVIA COOKIE: Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland are a married, writing and directing team. They were able to complete primary shooting of Still Alice in about 23 days.