Still Alice: What You Need To Know
The film that finally won Julianne Moore a long overdue and well-deserved Academy Award for Best Actress, Still Alice arrives on DVD & Blu-ray this week. Here's everything you need to know about it...
Who's in it?
Directed by the duo of Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, Still Alice stars Julianne Moore as linguistics professor Dr. Alice Howland, alongside a talented supporting cast that includes Alec Baldwin, who appears as her husband John, as well as Kristen Stewart, Hunter Parrish, Shane McRae and Kate Bosworth.
What's the plot?
With a distinguished career in her chosen field, a happy marriage and three children, Alice Howland lives a privileged and contented life, but all that begins to unravel when she suddenly begins to find she has problems with her memory. First she just forgets the odd word in a sentence, but soon the memory lapses become more severe and her family begin to worry.
Alice is then diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease, a degenerative and, ultimately, terminal condition that will see her symptoms worsen until the disease begins to affect even the most basic aspects of her life.
The film details not only Alice's struggle to accept and deal with the idea of becoming completely dependent on those around her at such a relatively young age, but also that of her family as they try to come to terms with gradually losing the person they know and love.
Does it deliver?
Moore's Oscar win should be enough to indicate that this is a stunning performance from the actor, even by her elevated standards, but credit should also go to the directors Westmoreland and Glatzer, who co-wrote the film's screenplay themselves and handle an extremely tough subject with both skill and sensitivity.
Moore is also aided here by some great performances from her supporting cast, particularly those playing her children, who struggle with the diagnosis more than most. Although the film is often harrowing, there's a certain amount of emphasis on Alice's attempts to find the positives and enjoy what is left of her life, making for a film that is very sad but also incredibly touching, and the filmmakers deserve credit for making a serious attempt to depict a condition that affects more and more people each year, but is rarely discussed in depth on the big screen.
The film's already powerful narrative was given extra poignancy by the tragic death of Richard Glatzer in March this year, himself succumbing to the very condition that Still Alice addresses at the age of 63. Make no mistake; this film will have you reaching for the tissues, but it's portrayal of a family struggling through the worst possible circumstances is a heartwarming one, and one that offers hope.