Still Alice, the 2014 drama directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland and based on the novel of the same name by Lisa Genova, is the story of Alice Howland ( Julianne Moore ), a college professor suffering from alzheimer’s.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
The film starts showing Alice’s normal life. She’s married to her husband, John ( Alec Baldwin ) and has three kids, struggling actress Lydia ( Kristen Stewart ), Tom ( Hunter Parrish ) and Anna ( Kate Bosworth ), who is married to Charlie Jones ( Shane McRae ). All of them being adults. One day during a presentation she can’t remember a word, so she blames it on having to much to drink. She rubs that off as a standalone event. Later, while jogging around campus she gets lost, and doesn’t even know where she is.
After a series of doctor’s visits, she is diagnosed with genetic alzheimer’s. After breaking the news to her husband, her children are next. They are also told they have a 50/50 chance of also carrying that trait. Lydia tests positve, Tom negative, Anna didn’t want to know.
Having taken in the events, she decided to record a video. Asking her basic questions she would normally be able to ask without having to think about it. If she isn’t able to answer these questions anymore, she takes a bottle of pills she hid away from her husband. As well as instructions on how to find them.
As the movie goes on, Alice forgets even the most basic routine things in her life. An example being the ice cream shop. She would always order classic with blueberries and coconut flakes. Her husband having to order it for her, since she can no longer remember it. Several other examples exist of this, some I’m of which I’m sure I didn’t catch.
One morning, Alice turns on her computer and watches the video, no longer being able to answer the questions, takes the pills. She’s interrupted by her nurse and doesn’t take them. Because by dropping them, she had already forgotten what she was doing.
John, no longer being able to watch her wife’s mind deteriorate, moves away. Most likely to Minnesota for a job at a clinic that was mentioned earlier in the movie. After this happens, Lydia, moves back home from LA to take care of Alice. The end.
My interpreation of the name ‘Still Alice’ is how despite Alice losing more and more of her memories. The shell of her is still there. She still has her personality and at least some of her memories. She’s not what she used to be, but she technically is, ‘Still Alice’.
Though I personally am not a big fan of Julianne Moore, I found her performance to be both realistic and moving. The supporting cast also did a good job, Kristen Stewart, even with her limited use, shows that unlike in a certain role of hers, she actually does know how to act. The film had a slow burn feel, as Alice slowly lost more and more of her memories and herself as a human throughout the movie. I’d give the film an 8/10.