Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TIFF 2014: 'Still Alice' Is Julianne Moore's Best Work

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 4:17 PM

In a conversation with Dr. Troy Rohn three summers ago, the Boise State researcher said that at the time, Idaho had between 25,000 and 32,000 people in Idaho diagnosed with Alzheimer's (enough to fill Boise State's Albertsons Stadium). He said that number would triple by 2050. When I asked if we had an epidemic, he took a breath and said, "It's a good word to use."

That haunting conversation was at the front of my mind as I watched Still Alice, starring Julianne Moore in the best performance of her career and co-starring co-stars Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart and Kate Bosworth.

It's hard to believe Moore hasn't already won an Oscar, given her work in The Hours, The End of the Affair, Far From Heaven, The Kids Are All Right and MagnoliaStill Alice might be the one that earns her the prize. 

I admit to being skeptical when I approached Still Alice. I was expecting an earnest, sentimental offering, but this movie is simply wonderful. It's based on the 2005 bestselling debut novel by Dr. Lisa Genova, and the screenplay was crafted with tremendous care by Wash Westmoreland, who also directed, and Richard Glatzer who suffers from ALS but completed the film even though his hands and arms were barely functional.

Moore plays Alice Howland, a vivacious, happily married linguistics professor who one day forgets a word while giving a lecture. Soon, the words begin to fall away like leaves. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, she is wracked with guilt, telling her children they may have inherited the gene that will soon rob Alice of much of her memory.

Don't be afraid of this film because of its subject matter. Embrace it and be swept away by one of the most beautiful performances ever captured on film.

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