A woman slowly loses all that is dear to her due to Alzheimer’s and as she struggles to retain herself, her family struggles with the idea of how to maintain their relationship with her.
Review (with Spoilers)
Characters & Story
Around the age of 50, Dr. Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) develops early onset Alzheimer’s and while, at first, it doesn’t seem bad, as she begins to forget words, people, and names, you can see bits of her identity slowly and surely stripped away. All the while, her family which consists of husband Dr. John Howland (Alec Baldwin), son Tom (Hunter Parrish), and daughters Lydia (Kristen Stewart) and Anna (Kate Bosworth) do their best to adjust to the news and the person their mother is slowly becoming.
The majority of the praise here all goes to Moore. For she somehow takes what truly seems like a lifetime movie, with a decent casts, and finds a way up the caliber to something which seems beyond a generic TV movie. How does she do this? She presents what comes off as a generic doctor, and evolves her through her degenerative disease. Then, while developing her character, her abilities slightly rub off on the rest of the cast. However, truly only Stewart gets the full-fledged benefit of sharing a scene with Moore for she seems to be the only one to either take advantage of it or be written to be compelling. For while Lydia isn’t a deeply developed character, you can see that out of all Alice’s children, she is the one most focused on and developed. Hell, she is more developed than John. Making it so that while you can see Anna is worried and sad because genetically she will get Alzheimer’s, Lydia is the one who seems to really be bearing the brunt of Alice’s issues since their relationship, even before the Alzheimer’s, had problems.
But, sadly when it comes to everyone but Alice and Lydia, they are just there. John is boring, even when he starts acting like Alice’s disease is becoming a burden, and Parrish’s character, as well as Bosworth’s, pretty much seems like a waste of money for the movie. For truly, Tom has no real development, and Anna just doesn’t bring a single interesting thing to this film. And while I praise Stewart as Lydia, I must admit that the praise probably comes from being a fan of hers more than anything. For this isn’t like Camp X-Ray in which it pushes the idea Stewart can act, even though she certainly seems emotionally invested. Also, when it comes to Moore, to be honest, I was so bored with this movie until her Alzheimer’s really kicked in. For not only did she come off dull, and made this seem like a direct to DVD movie which Lifetime picked up in hopes the big names would bring ratings, but it was just rather hard to take interest in a woman who had it all losing it with us seeing only a bit of frustration, and then her turning into some kind of simpleton.
Overall: TV Viewing
Still Alice is one of those wood burning oven type of movies. It won’t affect you at first, but with time it slowly will begin to infect your mind, sour your mood, and make you realize that there very well is the possibility that this could happen to a loved one, or yourself, and the devastation could possibly be something, if it affects you, that you may be unable to express. Something Moore presents well, despite the criticism. But I will say you have to walk into the movie with a clean slate and not too high expectations. For the more you expect, I think the more you may end up disappointed. Something which was a problem for me hence the TV Viewing label.
Things To Note
If Julianne Moore gets an Oscar nomination for this, it will be more so for her body of work than the role in my opinion. The role will just be an excuse.
“Please do not think I am suffering. I am not suffering, I am struggling. Struggling to be a part of things, to stay connected to who I once was.”
— Still Alice