Still Alice

Inside Garden City is excited to introduce a new column. Carly Hampton will be covering movies and TV- and all things entertainment related- that might peak your interest. Carly has recently returned to the East Coast from California and has a background in film and TV. I am very happy that she will be sharing her expertise with our readers!

Carly Hampton
Inside Garden City Staff

I decided to see the film “Still Alice” after Julianne Moore won the 2015 Oscar for best actress. I usually see all the movies nominated for best picture and because ‘Still Alice’ was not nominated, it was at the bottom of my “must watch list”. I didn’t hear much buzz about the movie, what with ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Birdman’ getting all the attention, so I put it off. I’m a fan of Moore and was curious if she deserved the award. The next day I went to the theater to investigate. 
            ‘Still Alice’ based on the book “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova, follows the story of Dr. Alice Howard (Julianne Moore), a happily married linguistics professor at Columbia University and mother of three grown children.  After forgetting a few words here and there, going blank while delivering lectures and loosing her bearings, she is soon diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. 
            The directing choices gave the audience a feel for the disease from the point of view of Alice. In an early scene, Alice gets lost while taking an afternoon run on campus. During her run she suddenly feels confused. We know she’s lost without anyone having to speak and tell us  – this would feel clunky and expositional. Instead, the camera pulls out of focus around Alice leaving her the only clear thing in the shot. The “out of focus camera” shot happens numerous times during the film.  Another example of the director giving us a sense of confusion is when the story would suddenly jump weeks and even months ahead without filling us in on how we arrived there. Alice is just suddenly somewhere and we are suddenly there too. When Alice doesn’t know or remember what’s going on, neither do we. I personally thought that was helpful in understanding the character.  
            I can’t give the directing and camera work all the credit. What would a movie be without a good lead? I was blown away by Moore’s performance and the more the story unraveled, the more impressed I was. Alice changes drastically during the film- from not remembering words to not remembering people and so on. Moore does an excellent job showing us the progression and the effects of the disease. A scene that stuck out to me was when Alice (well into her disease) watches a video of herself from the past. In the scene, the “old Alice” and the confused “new Alice” are dramatically different; one being coherent and giving out instructions while the other is disoriented and trying her best to follow. Moore was able to capture both and all versions of Alice beautifully. 
            I highly recommend seeing this film. I think it gives a unique perspective on the disease and shows what people are actually going through and how they feel during the battle. Julianne Moore totally deserved the Oscar for this movie and congrats to her for winning.  I hope you check out ‘Still Alice’ and enjoy it as much as I did.  If you do watch it, let me know what you think about the movie by leaving a comment below. Happy watching!

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One comment

  1. Barbara Corrigan · February 27, 2015

    I am anxious to see the film after reading the book. I am even more interested after your great review. I look forward to hear further reviews from someone who has a background in film and editing. Thanks, Carly


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