As a person who has had two family members experience the trauma of Alzheimer’s Disease, I had been very much looking forward to seeing “Still Alice.” I knew that whether or not the movie turned out well, the pure fact that someone thought those suffering from the disease deserved to be recognized meant a lot.
Based on the book written by Lisa Genova, Director Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland bring “Still Alice” to life with the help of Julianne Moore, Kate Bosworth, Alec Baldwin, and Kristin Stewart. This heart wrenching drama tells the story of a loving mother and intellectual who develops early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Alice (Julianne Moore) finds herself experiencing memory loss, confusion, disorientation, mood changes, and difficulty speaking progressively throughout the film. These are all symptoms listed by the Alzheimer’s Association.
While the film is admittedly slow moving and rather uneventful, the overall mood allows the audience to feel as if they are experiencing the events for themselves.Through the course of this film, nothing especially significant occurs, there are few eventful moments with edge-of-the-seat drama, but yet it still captures your heart. The story sheds new light on what it’s really like to see someone you love suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease.
One of the best parts of Still Alice is when Alice is offered the opportunity to speak at a prestigious event regarding Alzheimer’s disease. In her speech she explains the horrendous nature of Alzheimer’s perfectly:
“All my life I’ve accumulated memories – they’ve become, in a way, my most precious possessions. The night I met my husband, the first time I held my textbook in my hands. Having children, making friends, traveling the world. Everything I accumulated in life, everything I’ve worked so hard for – now all that is being ripped away…….I am not suffering. I am struggling. Struggling to be part of things, to stay connected to whom I was once.” – Alice Howland
The creators of the movie did a great job in that the writers did not sugarcoat the horrible symptoms of this disease. Embarrassing moments such as re-introducing yourself to the same person, getting lost and forgetting words are all a part of Alzheimer’s, and a part of Alice’s journey. Julianne Moore’s portrayal of this disease is impressive as she captures the confused look Alzheimer’s patients get when they start to lose their ability to stay involved in a conversation, or remember where they are.
Along with Julianne’s remarkable performance, the creators of the film use some unique and inventive visual representation of what Julianne’s character experiences in her mind. At one point in the film, when Alice begins forgetting things, she finds herself lost in a place once very familiar to her. As she looks around to figure out where she is, the camera spins around showing a blurry environment with Alice confusedly looking around at the same time.
The costuming, as well as the soundtrack are also very well incorporated into the film. Each character has their own unique style, but as Alice begins to change and becomes progressively worse in her condition, her clothing becomes more about comfort than looking nice. From business attire, to sweatpants the audience can see the changes occurring in Alice not just through her actions and words, but through her clothing and the music provided in the background.
The ending of this film felt abrupt and unresolved. But to show the ending of Alice’s story may have been too painful for any one audience to experience. The true ending would be unpleasant to watch and inherently depressing.
Julianne Moore’s Oscar winning performance really does a wonderful job of giving a voice to those suffering from this disease. ABCNews claims that the film has created national awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and has even become a trending topic on Twitter at #Alzhiemer’sAwareness.
Check out the official movie trailer here.