Wednesday, December 17, 2014

“Still Alice” Raises Awareness of Alzheimer’s

By José Alberto Hermosillo.

“Still Alice” is a sublime, elegant, and compassionate film that showcases a brilliant and enduring performance by Julianne Moore and positions her as a major Oscar® contender.

Dr. Alice Howland (Julianne Moore: “Boogie Nights,” “Children of Men,” “Short Cuts”) is a prominent linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Because she has “A Beautiful Mind,” her sickness advances faster than in other people.

Her journey runs in three stages: denial, diagnosis, and decline. She will meet doctors, nurses, and caregivers that help her to confront the challenges and evolution of her symptoms. 

Photo by Jose Alberto Hermosillo © 2014  Festival in LA

At a Q & A hosted by Variety in Hollywood, someone asked: why Doctor Alice Howland does not return to work? Straightforward and a little controversial, the panel responded that many patients with other illnesses, after being diagnosed, get fired. In the movie, it is understandable why she doesn't go back to work, there is no needed to explain, because the story focuses on Alice’s behavior, not on her job, like the critically acclaimed film “Philadelphia.” Julianne Moore pointed out that, “This is a movie about life, joy, and mortality.”

During treatment, her loving family - a son, two daughters, and her husband – all care for her, but the conflict soon arises as they keep going with their lives and she feels powerless in her own. The intensity of her emotions evolves as she struggles to maintain the connection with her family, with the neighborhood and with the world.

The film is carefully depicted from Alice’s perspective while she tries to convince herself and others that: “I am not suffering, I am struggling.” This is an important message to remember regarding Alzheimer’s patients whose awareness and quality of life can be maintained, though it may seem to those around them that they are losing themselves.

Directors and husbands Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (“Quinceañera,” “The Last of Robin Hood”) researched and prepared meticulously to overcome some filming challenges such as a short shooting schedule, limited budget, and the fierce cold weather in New York. Despite these challenges, they made an accurate and conscious adaptation of this best-selling novel by Lisa Genova without falling into melodrama.

In fact, the drama is kept to a minimum, not only due to the subtle performance of Moore, but also thanks to the perfect evolution of dialogue. Alice’s husband (Alec Baldwin) and daughter (Kristen Stewart) both keep their conversations with her plain and simple; later, those conversations and actions will display a deep sense of understanding and tolerance. The daughter becomes her confidant, companion, and a reminder of her past. 

Everybody knows that their lives will be different as Alice's disease progresses, but they maintain their love for her and do what they can to make her time easier.

“Still Alice” reminds us that even as patients begin forgetting things, themselves, and the people and around them, they are still people who love them, emphasizing the values of compassion and respect.

“Still Alice” offers a humanistic approach to the illness, providing its viewers with a sense of awareness and tolerance. Personally, I love the message of this motion picture because it taught me how to be more patient with the elderly, especially with my mother.


Still Alice. Genre: Fiction/Drama. Language: English, Country: U.S.A. Year: 2014.

Copyright © 2014 Festival in LA

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  1. #Oscars #StillAlice “Still Alice” is a sublime, elegant, and compassionate film that showcases a brilliant and enduring performance by Julianne Moore and positions her as a major Oscar® contender.

  2. Alzheimer is now curable withalzheimer's treatment. There are other methods which can be applied for curing this disease too. Though the number of Alzheimer’s is increased but the there is a possibility that it might be able to reduce the number.