Friday, 27 March 2015

173. Film Review - Still Alice

When I saw that the critically acclaimed Still Alice was showing at my local cinema, I knew that I had to go so me and my Mum headed down to see it last night. I'd been wanting to watch it for a while as I felt that the story line was very different and interesting and sounded just my cup of tea. 

Still Alice tells the story of Alice Howland, a linguistics professor, who discovers at the age of 50 that she has early onset Alzheimer's when she begins to forget words and gets lost on a run around her local area. Worrying that she has a brain tumour, she visits a neurologist where she is diagnosed, after several tests. 

This is an incredibly moving story of a woman, still in her prime with a fantastic career and a beautiful family, coming to terms with such devastating news and it is approached so sensitively and respectfully. The moment when Alice tells her family the news really made a lump in my throat as Julianne Moore's performance was just so believable. The fact that Alice apologises to her family for having this condition, which can be passed on genetically, is heartbreaking and made me really empathise for the character even more as it showed that she cared more for her family and their health, than her own.
Watching Alice deteriorate - at times, incredibly quickly - was pretty hard to watch and the whole cinema remained practically silent, as if holding their breath to see what happened next, throughout the entire film. 

I loved how realistic the film was. As strong as Alice tries to be by carrying on with her career and daily life, trying to prevent further memory loss by testing herself daily, I'm pleased that it was demonstrated that at some point Alice did have to admit defeat. She wasn't portrayed as a tragic hero, she was portrayed as a normal woman, thrown into an unfair and upsetting, but real, situation.

Without giving away too much of the story, Still Alice is a very sad film but created in the most beautiful way. The acting is top notch, in particular from Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart - who plays Alice's youngest daughter, Lydia - and the film is easy to follow, whilst still being very informative and insightful into the delicate matter of Alzheimer's disease. 
The only thing that I struggled with was, at times, relating to the characters in the film. They live a very affluent lifestyle, the characters have high-flying careers and are all beautiful, athletic and intelligent. The relationships demonstrated between characters, however, were easy to relate to as were the emotions and topics that were covered.

All in all, I really enjoyed Still Alice. It's not a particularly fast paced film and its definitely not an action-packed epic, but it's a very moving, insightful and delicate account of one woman, and one families', struggle with the devastation that is Alzheimer's disease.

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