Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Still Alice Is Heartbreakingly Good

I know I've been pushing Reese Witherspoon for Leading Actress until now, but I always had to leave an asterisk. I hadn't seen the frontrunner... Julianne Moore. And her performance was well worth the wait.
Still Alice is the painfully sad story about Alice Howland, a linguistics professor who develops Early Onset Alzheimer's, throwing her and her family's lives into disarray. Now when you hear that summary you're probably wondering why you'd want to go see something so heart-wrenching and painful to watch. Why in the name of god would you ever even consider forcing yourself to feel this pain? Well Still Alice is so dense with quality performances, abstract and interesting camera work, and a truly compelling screenplay that I can't find a solid argument against giving it a shot. Sometimes it's worth feeling the pain in a fictional setting so you can open your eyes and start living. You know what I mean?
Julianne Moore trumps every other performance this season. Her take on the pains of living with Alzheimer's is both shocking and awe-inspiring. I've always known she was a great actress, but sometimes I need a film of quality to remind me just how great... Still Alice, fortunately, is that film. Alec Baldwin is as interesting to watch as ever, and I really enjoy it when he takes on these more serious kinds of roles. Kate Bosworth was just perfect. Her attempts at overcoming the realities of her and her mother's situation feel so genuine and intellectually motivated... And then there's Kristen Stewart. I've tended to question her celebrity in the past because her biggest movies have clearly not been made for my demographic. But she delivers as good a performance as anyone in Still Alice. If you were wondering where all the great female performances of the 2014 season went to, most of them were being saved for this flick. I'm honestly surprised it didn't get more nominations.
Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland made a hypnotically heartbreaking film. And they should be very proud of their work. Still Alice is finally in theaters now, and it was damn worth the wait. Check it out quick, cause it'll likely come home with the Best Actress Oscar.

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