In “Still Alice,” Julianne Moore delivers such a heartbreakingly honest portrayal of a woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Her acting is so painstakingly believable that it is almost impossible to separate reality from the film and to remove oneself from the experiences and struggles that Alice, the main character, faces.
Moore does an incredible job portraying the helpless feeling of utterly losing everything that makes you yourself from the moment the film begins.
In an opening scene celebrating Alice’s birthday, her character unknowingly hints signs of her disease when she makes an irrelevant comment at dinner. From there on, the accomplished linguistics professor at Columbia University falls further into the downward spiral of memory loss that is defining of Alzheimer’s.
Moore’s dramatic skill is heightened by the cinematic excellence when Alice is jogging on Columbia’s campus, a familiar and comfortable place, and suddenly she is overwhelmed and not sure of where she is. As the camera focuses on Alice’s face and the background blurs beyond recognition and begins to spin it is impossible to not feel completely flooded with confusion.
As Alice’s mind further deteriorates, she sees no choice but to tell her otherwise unnoticing family about her struggles.
In frustration and inability to sleep, Alice wakes her husband in the early hours of the morning to confess “It feels like my brain is f*****g dying!” She then questions why he doubts what she knows.
Early in her disease, Alice creates a video message to her later self.
The video instructs Alice to kill herself through the use of prescription pills if she can no longer remember simple personal questions such as her daughters name or her own birthday.
She labels the folder “Butterfly” after a memory of her late mother in which her mother explains that butterflies may have short lives, but that their lives were beautiful. This sentiment Alice links to her
The directors of the film, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, add depth by linking the disease suffered by Alice to the play “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner. Alice’s younger daughter, an aspiring actress, reads the renowned closing scene, which portrays the beautiful image of souls leaving the ground and ascending into the air.
She asks her mother what it is about and, fighting to pronounce the word love. Moore sends a powerful message.
The message is that Alzheimer’s is not the disease of social rejects or that only afflicts the elderly, as many believe it does. While it may not have a cure, Moore captures how it can only be treated by love.
Having recently won the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in “Still Alice,” Moore has yet another nomination for an Oscar for Best Actress. The people of the Internet have strong hopes for a win.