Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Film review: Still Alice




As a perpetual book lover I have of course always known about the magic hidden within the pages of a really good read and it seems the rest of the world has finally caught up and discovered their fabulousness too. There have been more page-to-screen adaptations in recent years than ever before high-profile ones include the likes of Harry Potter, The Kite Runner, The Fault in Our Stars, Life of Pi, The Hunger Games and Gone Girl with many more in the pipeline for this year; Me Before You, Fifty Shades of Gray, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, to name but a few, and of course Still Alice, adapted from the novel of the same name by Lisa Genova (Simon & Schuster, 2012), for which leading lady Julianne Moore has been nominated for a prestigious Oscar for Best Actress.

The film has not yet been released in the UK, so I was really excited when I was invited to an advance screening at the lush Soho Hotel by publishers Simon & Schuster. It was lovely to see the team before the screening and they did not only have copies of the novels on hand for attendees but even gave me some tissues because, I was told, I was going to need them. Now that is what I call an excellent service.

I admit I knew little about the film before going in (I had not even read the book yet, shame on me) other than it would be focus on a relatively young woman being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. This meant that other than Julianne Moore starring as titular character Alice I didn't even know who else would be in the cast. So when Kristen Stewart made her first appearance on screen as one of Alice's children, I inwardly sighed and rolled my eyes as I don't think she's the strongest of performers and I worried she would bring down the quality of the film. I needn't have worried, as she was really rather excellent as the youngest of three siblings trying to cope with the rapid decline in the mental state of their mother and the person they knew her as.

While seeing the struggles of each of the siblings, as well as Alice's husband (Alec Baldwin), created an engaging palette for the audience to connect to the story, it was Julianne Moore's mesmerising performance which carried the film and made it such an exceptionally moving story. Of course the subject matter is harrowing in its own right, but without the right person taking on the role it would never have been such a poignant experience. I was completely gripped from start to finish and when the title screen appeared I was actually taken aback that the story had already come to a conclusion. In just an hour and a half I felt like I'd become incredibly close to Alice and her family and I was not yet ready to let go.

The sniffling and tissue-rustling all around me in the cinema confirmed that it was a definite tearjerker of a film, but it was also incredibly beautiful and thoughtful; well worth a trip to the cinema.




Still Alice will open in cinemas across the UK on 6 March 2015.

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