Still Alice (2014)

Still Alice 2014


Director: Richard Glazter

Stars: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kirsten Stewart.

The light in the darkness.

Julianne Moore can already start practising ‘I’d like to thank the Academy…’. Her Oscar for Best Actress of 2014 is in the bag. Not only is her performance the best female performance of 2014, its also the best performance all round in 2014. A career high mark, Julianne Moore navigates what could be a sentimental and over-the-top dramatisation of a woman’s descent into Alzheimer’s disease with such deft subtlety, humanity and beauty as to leave the viewer emotionally bound to the fate of her character. Moore carries a rather direct and straightforward film, making her dialogue entirely hers. You believe every moment. You are there with her for her journey. Julianne Moore simply is one of the greatest actresses of her generation. She makes you believe. The film never becomes a film about Alzheimer’s disease it always remains a film about a powerful female character and her journey.

The premise of ‘Still Alice’ may strike you as a kind of horror film, a brilliant academic’s descent into early on set Azlheimers. She loses all the qualities that she held most dear, her intelligence, her articulation and her career. Indeed I started watching the film with deep trepidation. There is simply nothing I fear more than losing my memory and mind. And yet ‘Still Alice’ is anything but a horror story. The genius of the film is to, in a very subtle way, show us what true wisdom looks like. She may lose the things that she previously cared most about, but in the process she gains a humble and true sense of wisdom. As terrible as any disease is, there is always an opportunity for true wisdom, a perspective on life that only tragedy and suffering has brought.

Life affirming, wise and heartbreaking, ‘Still Alice’ is simultaneously emotionally draining and uplifting. I have not cried so much in a film for a while. At the last scene I wept. And yet the film is far from depressing. Amidst a dark journey ‘Still Alice’ shines a light of hope and beauty. 9/10

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