Still Alice is the single most upsetting and distressing film I have ever seen. Yet in the same breath, it is a story of joy, bravery and resilience in the face of a truly unforgiving tragedy. Never before have I cried so consistently throughout a picture.
This story of one woman’s battle against early-onset Alzheimer’s is a remarkable tale of resistance and strength. Not only is this film about Alice Howland’s (Moore) journey, but Still Alice is also a film about her loyal family’s support, which is equally as affecting.
The film’s biggest achievement is that it tries its utmost to focus on the bravery of all involved for as long as it can. Still Alice is adamant that there is hope for patients with early-onset Alzheimer’s, if only in the short-term. Still Alice cannot retain this outlook throughout, as the despair is much too deep.
Julianne Moore’s performance is even better than you will have heard. Her portrayal would have won all the awards in any given year. In one moment, Moore gives her character vitality and strength, whilst she is also unafraid to show the full extent of her character’s fear and suffering. Moore is almost another person by the last quarter of the picture, but retains sparks of her character’s innate nature. Moore’s is a truly phenomenal performance.
The picture is made whole by the wonderful people alongside Moore’s central character. This is most notable in the excellent performance of Kristen Stewart. She may receive a lot of slander for her lack of charisma, but Stewart’s tender performance is a wonderful side-note.
This all results in a moving, affecting film, and what is surely a huge boost for Alzheimer’s awareness. Though it makes you wonder how much harder the situation would be in less fortunate circumstances, the film’s depiction will only evoke feelings of admiration towards similar patient’s bravery.
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