Sunday, 29 March 2015

26 March, 2015: Still Alice (2024) ****



“I wish I had cancer!” says linguistics professor Alice Howland shortly after being diagnosed with early onset alzheimer’s. It seems a shocking thing to say, but what this movie does so successfully is illustrate the frustration behind the remark. After all,  cancer sufferers are percieved as heroic: they fight the desease and either win or lose, and they keep their dignity. Alzheimers on the other hand seems to carry a stigma. We tend to visualize drooling geriatrics staring vacuously into space. And as if to reinfore that vision, Alice visits a home for people with advanced Alzheimers’s and sees just such a vision and a terrifying ilustration of where she is inevitably headed.

Notwithstanding, the fact that Aice has an exceptionally close and supportive family, her gradual decline is paniful to watch. Julianne Moore’sperformance is masterful and fully deserving of the Best Actress Oscar. (It would be interesting to tot up the number of actors and actresses who have won Oscars playing people with degenerative deseases). She receives good support from Alec Bladwin as her initially caring but ultimately detached husband, and Kristen Stewart whose attitude moves in the opposite direction. 

Sadly, co-director and writer Richard Glatzer died a couple of weeks ago from complications associated with ALS. This intelligent and unhistrionic adaptaion of Lisa Genova’s novel is a fitting epitaph.

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