She was regarded as a dead cert to pick up an Academy Award. And with four previous nominations and no win, she was due.
Well, the Oscar was no mere career award, but a very well deserved one for her work here. Watching Moore’s stunning, heartbreaking performance in Still Alice is made all the more powerful by the fact that it really isn’t a performance at all.
As an intelligent woman trying to come to terms with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and the impact that has on her family, Moore embodies the character with such purity you forget she’s acting a role. That it manages to tell such a moving story without ever feeling mawkish or like a “weepie of the week” is the film’s other great success.
Moore plays Alice Howland, a successful linguistics professor who’s happily married to John (Baldwin) with whom she has three grown kids.
When she starts to forget words, she initially puts it down to the stresses of modern living. However, when she completely forgets where she is during a routine jog (in one of the film’s most striking scenes), she’s frightened enough to go to a neurologist.
The news is shocking – 50-year-old Alice has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and it’s a genetic form, which means she may have also passed it on to her kids.
The movie shows how Alice fights to hold on to her intellect and her dignity as the disease takes its hold, and the impact it has on her marriage, her work and relationships.
It’s an incredibly sad yet life-affirming movie. Still Alice will stay with you. And Moore is superb.
THE VERDICT: A powerful family drama with outstanding performances (4/5).