“Still Alice” (2014) – Review by Clay Bloodworth

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‘Still Alice’ engaging and especially powerful

Julianne Moore has brought us countless interesting and complex performances over the years, some of my favorites being her roles in “Boogie Nights” and “The Kids Are All Right” (two drastically different movies). And she keeps with her now normal amount of excellence in her latest, “Still Alice”. Managing to prove yet again the wide extent of her acting ability, she takes on this challenging character with a huge amount of dedication and finesse. Heartbreaking and fascinating to watch, she brings many levels to Alice’s extremely difficult situation.

The situation I’m talking about – as many of you know – is her being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The film revolves around the deterioration of her memory, simultaneously showing her drive to keep her life together in every way possible. And despite what you might think, it’s a relatively slow process. Though she may receive the diagnosis in what feels like overnight, she gradually loses her mental functions over the course of a few years and can’t properly think or do much for herself.

The picture ultimately rests on Moore’s shoulders and she handles it superbly. She may have help from a talented supporting cast including Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart, but their characters are never the absolute focus. It doesn’t overwhelm the audience with her family members’ problems like so many other films centered around disease. It simply concentrates on Alice and her daily struggles instead of dwelling on how it affects those around her. That, above all, is one of the many reasons why I found the film so engaging. I had slight problems here and there – the biggest being with the fairly melodramatic ending – but overall I found the movie to be especially powerful. In fact, it almost brought me to tears about halfway through. When a movie can affect you that profoundly is when you know it has succeeded.

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