We wouldn’t even be talking about Still Alice, about a world renowned linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, if it weren’t for Julianne Moore. Michelle Pfeiifer, Julia Roberts, and Nicole Kidman all apparently passed on the part before anyone got around to considering Moore, which is baffling to me. Who among Moore’s peers is more up for the challenge? Who can play confused just as well as they can play sharp or as vulnerable as well as strong. Or, as Jay was right to point out in her review of Maps to the Stars, who else is so unconcerned with how she looks while she’s doing it? Because there are so many sides to her persona, we believe her as a respected academic, as a mother, and as a wife which is just as important as believing her as an Alzheimer’s patient. Because of Julianne Moore, we’re talking about Still Alice as an Oscar nominated film (Best Actress in a Leading Role).
The movie, as written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, may not be as beautiful as Away from Her or L’Amour but it gets it right mostly by not doing anything wrong. It’s never corny and doesn’t search for easy answers. This may not seem like high praise but I can imagine so many ways this could have gone wrong by being too pandering or by focusing on the disease instead of the person. I give it credit for not falling into these traps.
Julianne Moore is still the best reason to see Still Alice though. She’s been great since short Cuts but hasn’t had such a great opportunity to show it for years. Smart money is on her winning the Oscar.
If one asshole’s opinion isn’t enough, check out Jay’s review.