Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Still Alice

15:00 February 13, 2015
By: David Vicari

*** ½

Julianne Moore has always been a consistently fine actress, even when they put her in junk like Next or Non-Stop. In Still Alice, she plays a 50-year-old linguistics professor who is diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer's disease, and her performance is absolutely devastating. Moore will win the Best Actress Oscar.

Still Alice is based on the novel by neuroscientist Lisa Genova and is directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. The film doesn't hold back in depicting the deterioration that Alzheimer's brings as well as how it affects the loved ones of those afflicted.

The casting of Moore is key to the film's success. Yes, there is deep pathos in her performance as her character struggles to retain her memory and the fears she has of what the future holds, but because it is Julianne Moore in the role, it is effectively shocking to us, the audience, that this could happen to such a vibrant and seemingly healthy woman.

The strong performances, a realistic approach to the drama and a fine crew of technical craftsmen benefit the film greatly and raise it far above the average illness-of-the-week TV movie. Alec Baldwin delivers fine support as Alice's husband, as does Kristen Stewart as the couple's youngest daughter. And the cinematography by Denis Lenoir reflects Alice's fading memory as many shots begin out of focus and then slowly come into focus.

Still Alice is not an easy movie to watch and while it will tear your heart out, the final line of dialog is simple and beautiful and puts some perspective on things.

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