I saw Julianne Moore in “Still Alice” a week ago and certainly agree that she deserves her Oscar.
She made that little indie film about a woman with the early symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease a lot better and more watchable than it had any right to be.
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As I sat through it, I thought, “Well, this is great. This is fine. It’s warm, it’s pretty, and it moves pretty quickly. It’s not scary enough to make me dive behind the seat and stick my fingers in my ears and close my eyes.” So, for me, while I was in the theater, the film was a success.
But, soon after I left the theater, and the warm feelings left by Moore’s performance and the other actors’ work faded, and the warm feelings left by the filmmakers’ serious effort to portray the early stages of Alzheimer’s faded, it hit me that the film was too glossy, and too generalized.
The filmmakers tried to put in some conflict. The woman’s children bicker. Her husband obsesses about what to do when he has a chance to take a great job elsewhere, and his wife wants to stay put.
I looked at audience reviews and saw that many audience members had the same reaction I did. Then I tried to think about what I would write about it for LifeHealthPro.com and remembered something interesting: As far as I can remember, no one in the film ever mentions any kind of insurance, or savings mechanism of any kind.
Alice Howland, the lead character, and her husband are successful professors who live on the Upper West Side of New York. They live in what for New York City is a giant, lavish townhouse. But, at one point, around the time Howland and her husband are coping with the early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis by hanging out all summer in a huge, gorgeous Long Island beach house, the husband mentions that he can’t really afford to stay off work for a year and just hang out with his wife.