Written by / 2/18/2015 / No comments / , , , , ,

JULIANNE MOORE IN STILL ALICE

2015 rating: **
There’s one genuinely funny moment in the extremely serious melodrama, STILL ALICE, when the title character, after having been diagnosed with a particularly harsh disease, is on the verge of arguing with her husband and, nipping the conversation in the bud, says bluntly, “I have Alzheimer’s.”

There are a few other times when Julianne Moore's Alice connects with her family, friends, and the audience while a softly-stroked piano chimes: one concerning an actual audience within a planned meeting of other patients...

The speech given, aided by memory cards, is genuinely heartfelt, and Moore seems like a real person dealing with a serious issue, and doesn't overact. Once an educated lecturer, Alice relearns everything from scratch. Sadly, the rest of the movie doesn’t have that same level of entertainment value.

In any project that feels intentionally made to garner an award nomination and/or win (aka Oscar Bait), the performance will usually exceed the story: and there’s hardly any story at all. On the occasion ALICE ventures beyond Actor Workshop mode, struggling through otherwise common tasks... from jogging to finding a cell phone... Moore proves her worth just fine...

But the shared moments with her husband (Alec Baldwin, sounding more like an AM Jazz Deejay than ever) or nervy conversations with her black sheep daughter (Kristin Stewart) about a risky career in show business, feels like a Hallmark or Lifetime Channel production that is (and please don't think this is a bad taste pun) ultimately forgettable. OVERALL RANK: Jedi, Rebel, Droid, Sith
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