Cheated To Moving

Still Alice (2014)
A Review By Ben Hunter
3 Out Of 5 Stars


I felt cheated by the lack of satisfactory filmmaking and didn't feel capable of turning “cheated” into “moving”. 


Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) is a psychology professor in the New England area.  She loves to run, she runs everyday, as it gives her peace of mind.  Running helps her deal with her hectic schedule of classes, kids Anna (Kate Bosworth), Tom (Hunter Parrish), and mostly Lydia (Kristen Stewart) who’s embarked on an acting career that Alice finds to shallow and difficult for Lydia to embark on without a safety net of “college” to fall back on.  Her husband John (Alec Baldwin) occupies a career in psychology as well and the two sustain a loving, nurturing relationship.  One day on one of Alice’s runs, along a route that she normally runs on a daily basis, she can’t remember how to get home.  Lost in familiarity.  During one of her lectures she stumbles across a needed word only to remember it hours later in the car ride home.  At home she forgets how much eggs are needed in the bread pudding she makes for her family every holiday season.  That same day before commencing the pudding she greets Tom’s new girlfriend when she enters the room and then again later at the dinner table … because she forgot. 

She forgets, she forgets, she forgets. 

She sees a neurologist and discovers that she has early onset Alzheimer’s disease, at only the age of 50.  Normally people receive it as senior citizens around the age of 70.  Still Alice uncovers the hardships a family can uncover with this traumatic experience, adapted from the novel by Lisa Genova. 

As an adaptation, like the average movie that’s adapted from literary work, I became disgusted with how poorly it pales in comparison.  But as a movie that stands on its own two feet and solely basing my critique on such like I technically should (but technically can’t if I’ve read the book) … this movie not only doesn’t stand on its own two feet, but fails to even crawl to gain some momentum in its life.  I kept thinking an amateur made this film.  Now granted, the book gives you more information, can describe character thoughts, to lead to a deeper understanding and connection with characters and overall with the story, but on just filmmaking alone, there are so many ways to intensify a scene, ways that visual expression overrules the literary ones.  “Cheated” best describes how I felt.  This version of the story felt like “a quick once over” instead of “an amazing visual interpretation of the novel that stands up quite nicely to it”, as does Wild in my opinion.

The two girls who were next to me in the theater were passing tissue to each other as this story is a sad one, and to them “cheated” was replaced with “moving” or “touching”.  Yes, that’s even with Kristen Stewart as apart of the cast.  As a film connoisseur, it’s taken a lot for me to have “touching” as my one word to describe a film.  So to the general public I say keep all this in mind if you’re going to watch this film, just don’t read the book beforehand.

Oh, and, Reese Witherspoon for best actress this season … HANDS DOWN!

Still Alice
Drama, 101 Minutes, PG-13
Based on the Novel by: Lisa Genova
Written for the Screen and Directed by: Wash Westmoreland & Richard Glatzer
Cast: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth

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