Movie Review: STILL ALICE - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Terry's Take

Movie Review: STILL ALICE

 Actress Julianne Moore has earned a Best Actress nomination for her performance in STILL ALICE,  a moving new drama about a 50 year old woman with early onset Alzheimer's Disease.

When Alzheimer's strikes  a middle aged person, it often progresses at a very fast rate. That's what happens to Julianne Moore's character in STILL ALICE.

And Moore does an amazing job of showing both her character's desperate struggle and her stunning decline. STILL ALICE is sad but it's not depressing. It's refreshingly real.

Alice (in front of a crowded auditorium): I hope to convince you that by observing these baby steps into the…into..ahh...

It begins with the kind of forgetfulness we all experience and can cover up, but linguistics professor Alice Howland knows something more is going on inside her brain, especially, when she is jogging on campus and suddenly doesn't know where she is. Surprise, confusion, disbelief, and near panic—we can see all these on her face. It's a bravura performance by a great actress.

Alice's husband John, played by Alec Baldwin, doesn't want to believe it, but who would?

Alice: Why won't you take me seriously? I know what I'm feeling. It feels like my brain is dying and everything I've worked for my entire life is going. It's all going. (She sobs.)

Alice's adult son and two adult daughters don't know how to react either. But Kristen Stewart as Lydia, the most distant and difficult of Alice's children, displays the most understanding and compassion.

Lydia: What does it actually feel like?

Alice: It's not always the same. I have good days and bad days. On my good days I could almost pass for a normal person and on my bad days, I can't find myself. I've always been so defined by my intellect, my language, my articulation and now sometimes I can see the words hanging in front of me and I can't reach them and I don't know who I am and I don't know what I'm gonna to lose next. 

You may be asking yourself why you should go to see about a character who's losing her mind to this terrible disease, but Alice's   determination to hang on to her identity as long as she can is inspiring as well as heart breaking.

Alice: I am not suffering. I am struggling, struggling to be a part of things, to stay connected to who I once was. So live in the moment, I tell myself. It's really all I can do. Live in the moment. 

   Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.   thunter@hawaiinewsnow.com

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