35 minutes ago
Monday, 16 March 2015
Film: 'Still Alice'
Such being the vagaries of release date distribution, a number of those reading this will probably have already seen the film, which has only just made it to these regions.
Although other features have dealt with the subject of Alzheimer's before (most notably and movingly in 'Away From Her' of 2006, with Julie Christie), this is the first one I know which has at the centre a character suffering from the early onset of the disease, Moore playing the sufferer, a 50 year-old professor-lecturer in linguistics. It might be argued that having the latter profession is just a bit too contrived, being someone whose profession is primarily concerned with words, yet the ability to remember those very tools of verbal communication begin to elude her. However, once that situation is taken as read it's portrayed most convincingly and, indeed at times, quite upsettingly.
I must confess that I've never been aware of personally knowing anyone of any age who has suffered from the disease. (My own mother, who lasted till she was 89, was mentally sharp to the end). I can only assume that the portrayal as shown here is accurate. I'm not aware of anyone who's said it's not so.
Julianne Moore is at least as good as she's ever been, if not even better, and fully deserves her plaudits and awards. Her slow deterioration is heart-breaking to witness, gradually and seemingly inconsequential at first, then increasing in seriousness. Alec Baldwin plays the role as her sympathetic and caring husband with conviction. I had a slight problem with one of their adult children, their younger daughter and most prominent of the siblings, Kristen Stewart, who had a tendency to mumble. No such problems with the rest of the excellent cast.
I was half-expecting that there might be scenes of hysteria and shouting but it is, on the whole, played quite low-key. Of course there are also moments of tense drama but they're not out of place with the overall mood.
Screenplay is first-rate. I've just noticed with some surprise and sorrow that the writer (based on a Lisa Genova novel) and the film's co-director, Richard Glatzer, died only a week ago at the age of 63. It's particularly poignant and sad that he's finished on such a fine work as this.
I'd strongly recommend this. If it's only, for me, just the slightest hair's breadth less successful than the aforementioned 'Away From Her', that was an awfully high hurdle to leap anyway................................8.