TIFF 2014 Review: “Still Alice” (2014)



Directed by: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland

Writers: Lisa Genova (novel), Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland

Cast: Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Alec Baldwin, Hunter Parrish

Renowned linguistics professor Dr. Alice Howland (played by the always unique and extraordinary Julianne Moore), gives a lecture to her students. For a moment she forgets what to say next, but soon corrects her mistake and goes on. Later on, she runs in the park, and suddenly finds herself lost, even though she has been to this place a million times. Having a bad feeling about her neurological condition, she visits her doctor, who suggests some tests to identify the core reason for her problems – losing her memory and losing her way around the streets of Manhattan. The result is quite disappointing – Dr. Alice is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer`s that she could also pass genetically to her children.

We have seen many films telling the story of people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Some of them are told as beautiful, but sad love stories, while some are more tragic, such as a parent who is left alone in a special and forgotten by their grown up children; all due to this disease. But in the film “Still Alice”, based on the beautifully written novel by Lisa Genova, we see a clear example of how important it is to take care of our loved ones in a difficult situation, even though, tomorrow, that ‘loved one’ might not remember you, what day it is, or even your name.

“Still Alice” is directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, who perfectly adapt the novel written by Lisa Genova onto the silver screen, bringing us all the intense, sadness, and tragic parts of Alzheimer’s . At certain stages of the film you will not want to leave because there is nothing more painful than not remembering your children, parents, or anything that matters so much to these people.

Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart already shine at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival with their films- Croneberg’s “Maps to The Stars” ,with Moore, and “Clouds of Sils Maria”, with Stewart. In “Maps to The Stars”, Moore delivers one of the best performances of her career which most certainly will bring her an Academy Award. In the “Clouds of Sils Maria’, Stewart brings a surprisingly wonderful performance, while also sharing the screen with the incomparable Juliette Binoche.

Moore`s performance in “Still Alice” is so confident, simple, and beautiful, that you will think there is no role that she could not handle, or could not play. Moore has reached a certain level of acting where nothing is impossible for her. This is what she does so well, once again, playing ‘Alice’, who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She does this so well that we see and understand better all those people who have ever been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, as it is truly heartbreaking to watch someone you love go through this horrible disease.

“Still Alice” is the story of the unstoppable attack on the memory – the effect of Alzheimer’s. It`s a sad and tearful film that would break anyone`s heart. The entire cast delivers a solid performance. Moore is exceptional, playing Alice the way it should be played, making her story even more compelling. In the end, when you have finished watching this film do not forget to look around, as you might find everyone around you crying right along with you.

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