Alice Howland (played by Julianne Moore) places her self-esteem, self-worth and sense of identity from her intelligence and profession as a linguistics professor at Harvard University. Her integrity and mental stability start to crumble when she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
This diagnosis tests and strengthens her relationship with her family; her husband John played by actor Alec Baldwin and her two daughters and son played by Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Barrish.
I found the story of Still Alice to be particularly captivating because of the internal dialogue of Alice; reading her thoughts of confusion, fear and sadness. I think the story is particular unique how it is told from the perspective of the person diagnosed with a mental illness and watching her struggle right from lucidness to complete disorientation and confusion.
And I guess like when most books are adapted to film, the film Still Alice was detracted of these tragic thoughts and frustrations that Alice had in the book. For example, nearing the end of the book, Alice forgets her family which is omitted from the film; of Alice’s husband: ‘He put his arm around Alice’s waist and his hand under her elbow, and she walked home with this kind stranger who had saved her life,’ or when Alice’s daughter had her children, she couldn’t recognise her daughter or her daughter’s husband: ‘Maybe he’s her doctor… Maybe he’s room service…Oh my, that’s Anna!’
Overall, I found the book and film absolutely brilliant. It’s very easy to empathise with – anyone could relate to Alice’s life or family – making it very realistic, capturing the early symptoms, struggles and loneliness of this horrible disease.
I give this 4 out of 5 stars.
Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic material, and brief language including a sexual reference)
Directed by: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Written by: Lisa Genova, Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer