Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Review: Still Alice

World of Blackout Film Review

Still Alice Poster

Still Alice
Cert: 12A / 101 mins / Dir. Wash Westmoreland & Richard Glatzer / Trailer
WoB Rating: 7/7

I suspect I may have mentioned this previously, but it's worth reiterating that Julianne Moore really may be one of the finest actors of our era. A screenplay which has an expert on linguistics, and the formation of communication, slowly lose the very abilities she's written textbooks about can certainly be described as self-aware; but when Moore's character is lecturing her daughter on how acting isn't a sensible career, it's positively meta.

There's no doubt whatsoever that Still Alice is An Important Film (and no doubt that it's a fantastic one), but even with the rapid acceleration of Alice's Early-Onset Alzheimer's, there's a lot of ground to cover in a relatively short span, and this means the proceedings sometimes feel rushed and heavy-handed. In this respect, Moore's performance is actually better than the film itself. The editor's handling of the passage of time is often jarring, but this settles down after the first act, and the cast pretty much paper over any cracks. Which would be a good time to point out what an amazing job Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart*1, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish all do as Alice's immediate family (although their roles are strictly limited to Supporting™).

The film's soundtrack is delicate and underplayed, the cinematography is quietly magnificent (the importance of focussing in particular, which I've undercut by even mentioning it, but fuck it, it needs complimenting), and if you don't have Something In Your Eye ™ at least once during the film, you're clearly some kind of monster.

Go and see Still Alice.

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
It is.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
Well, I'm not sure how many times you'll want/need to rewatch it, so maybe a rental?

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
In Julianne Moore's case, this will be difficult to top.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It does, indeed.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Well not less, but I'll probably worry about you.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't. Which is hardly surprising, to be fair.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Alec Baldwin starred in 1990's The Hunt For Red October, a film which featured everybody's favourite Vader-vocaliser, James Earl Jones (and also Tim Curry, who has lately voiced Palpatine/Sidious in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. And it has to be said that his Sidious is better than his Palpatine, but I digress).

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 No, you shut up. Seriously, she's great in this.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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