Still Alice

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This article is about the 2014 film. For the 2007 novel, see Still Alice (novel).
Still Alice
Still Alice - Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Richard Glatzer
  • Wash Westmoreland
Based on Still Alice
by Lisa Genova
Music by Ilan Eshkeri
Cinematography Denis Lenoir
Edited by Nicolas Chaudeurge
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • September 8, 2014 (2014-09-08) (TIFF)
  • December 5, 2014 (2014-12-05) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes [1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million[2]
Box office $43.9 million[2]

Still Alice is a 2014 American independent drama film written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland[3][4] and based on Lisa Genova's 2007 bestselling novel of the same name. The film stars Julianne Moore as Alice Howland, a linguistics professor at Columbia diagnosed with familial Alzheimer's disease. Alec Baldwin plays her husband, John, and Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish play her children, Lydia, Anna and Tom.

Still Alice had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2014.[5] It received critical acclaim, particularly for Moore's performance, who won awards including the Academy Award for Best Actress, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role and the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress.


Alice Howland, a linguistics professor at Columbia University, celebrates her 50th birthday with her physician husband John and three adult children. After she forgets a word during a lecture and becomes lost during a jog on campus, Alice's doctor diagnoses her with early onset familial Alzheimer's disease. Alice's eldest daughter, Anna, and son, Tom get tested. Alice's younger daughter, aspiring actress Lydia, decides not to know.

As Alice's memory begins to fade, she daydreams of her mother and sister, who died in a car crash when she was a teenager. She memorizes words and sets a series of personal questions on her phone, which she answers every morning. She hides sleeping pills in her room, and records a video message instructing her future self to swallow the pills when she can no longer answer the questions. As her disease advances, she becomes unable to give focused lectures and loses her job. She becomes lost searching for the bathroom in her own home and does not recognize Lydia after seeing her perform in a play.

John is offered a job at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Alice asks him to postpone it, but he feels this is impossible. At her doctor's suggestion, Alice delivers a speech at an Alzheimer's conference about her experience with the disease, using a highlighter to remind herself which parts of the speech she has already spoken, and receives a standing ovation.

Alice begins to have difficulty answering her phone questions. She loses the phone, causing her anxiety; John finds it a month later in the freezer, but Alice thinks it was only missing for a day. Later, Alice and John visit Anna in the hospital to meet their newborn twin grandchildren, but Alice does not recognize her daughter.

After a video call with Lydia, Alice inadvertently opens the video with the suicide instructions. With some difficulty, she finds the pills and is about to swallow them, but when she is interrupted by the arrival of her caregiver she drops the pills on the floor and then forgets what she was doing.

John, unable to watch his wife continue to deteriorate, eventually moves to Minnesota to take the job in the clinic while Lydia, who had been living in California, moves back home to care for Alice. Lydia reads her a section of the play Angels in America and asks her what she thinks it is about. Alice, barely able to speak, responds with a single word: love.



The film was produced by Lex Lutzus and James Brown of Lutzus/Brown along with Pamela Koffler of Killer Films and Marie Savare. It was executive produced by American journalist and author Maria Shriver along with Christine Vachon of Killer Films and Declan Baldwin of Big Indie pictures.[7]

Principal photography began in New York City on March 3, 2014.[8] Scenes were shot at 162nd Street between Edgecombe and Amsterdam in New York as well as at Columbia University, Lido Beach, New York and Dobbs Ferry, New York.[9] Filming wrapped in early April.[citation needed]

On July 22, 2014, with the announcement of film's premiere at TIFF, the first still of Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howland from the film was released.[10]


Sony Pictures Classics bought the US distribution rights for the film in a low seven figure deal that was announced on September 11, 2014. SPC gave the film a one-week qualifying run for the Oscars starting December 5, 2014, with a wider theatrical release on January 16, 2015.[11][12] The film went into full wide release in the United States on February 27, 2015.[13]


The film was part of the confidential data stolen in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack incident; it was leaked[14] onto peer-to-peer file sharing websites on November 27, 2014, over a month ahead of its release. Along with it came Fury and three other unreleased Sony Pictures films (Annie, Mr. Turner and To Write Love on Her Arms).[15] Within three days of the leak, Still Alice had been downloaded by an estimated 103,832 unique IPs.[15]


Box office[edit]

As of 2016, Still Alice has a domestic gross of $18.7 million and internationally $25 million.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Still Alice premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival to positive reviews, with emphasis on Julianne Moore's performance. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 88% based on 169 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "Elevated by a gripping performance from Julianne Moore, Still Alice is a heartfelt drama that honors its delicate themes with bravery and sensitivity."[16] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 reviews from film critics, the film has a score of 72 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17] The National Board of Review Awards named Still Alice as one of the top ten independent films of 2014.[18]

Peter Debruge of Variety wrote in a positive review that the film had been shot "in such a way that activity is constantly spilling beyond the edges of the frame, giving the impression that characters’ lives continue when they’re not on camera, even as Alice’s seems to be closing in around her. Just as her kids look for ever-fainter signs of their mother behind those eyes, we lean in to watch Moore the actress turn invisible within her own skin."[19]

Moore received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance

Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "warm, compassionate, but bitingly honest" and asserted that Moore had a "career-high performance." Young also praised the direction of the film, noting that "the directors tackle a subject where a restrained, understated approach is the best insurance against sloppy sentimentality. It pays off handsomely in the film’s closing moments, a poignant, poetic confrontation between the generations that draws the best from Moore and reveals unexpected depth in Stewart."[20]

Gregory Ellwood of Hitfix praised Moore: "In each scene she peels a little bit more of Alice away as the emotional pain of the disease takes its toll..." Ellwood also praised the direction, stating, "The duo behind the critically acclaimed Quinceañera let the film's narrative unspool in as restrained a manner as possible. There are no unbelievable hysterics. There are no self-aware screaming matches."[21]

Tim Grierson of Screen International praised the understated direction and Moore's performance, as well as Baldwin, Stewart, and Bosworth's supporting work: "Baldwin is particularly good as an ambitious medical researcher who is losing not just his wife but also a woman who was as driven as he was." Grierson added, "With nuance, Bosworth and Stewart both play women who seem to have been profoundly shaped by their impressive mother, and we feel the characters’ confusion at having her influence suddenly ripped away from them (Stewart especially shines, initially playing a prototypical starving-artist type who surprises her family by her response to Alice’s diagnosis)."[22]


For her performance as Dr. Alice Howland, Julianne Moore won the Academy Award for Best Actress among other awards and nominations. Julianne became the seventh actress and 14th actor overall in a leading role who won the Academy, BAFTA, Golden Globe, SAG, and Critics' Choice Movie Award for a single performance.

List of Accolades
Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards[23] Best Actress Julianne Moore Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[24] Best Actress Won
EDA Special Mention Award – Actress Defying Age and Ageism Nominated
AACTA International Awards[25] Best Actress Won
BAFTA Awards[26] Best Actress in a Leading Role Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards[27] Best Actress Won
Critics' Choice Movie Awards[28] Best Actress Won
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association[29] Best Actress Runner-up
Detroit Film Critics Society[30] Best Actress Nominated
Dorian Awards[31] Best Actress Won
Dublin Film Critics' Circle[32] Best Actress Won
Florida Film Critics Circle[33] Best Actress Runner-up
Golden Globe Awards[34] Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Won
Georgia Film Critics Association[35] Best Actress Nominated
Gotham Independent Film Awards[36] Best Actress Won
Hollywood Film Awards[37] Hollywood Actress Award Won
Houston Film Critics Society[38] Best Actress Won
Humanitas Prize Feature Film Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer Won
Independent Spirit Awards[39] Best Female Lead Julianne Moore Won
International Cinephile Society[40] Best Actress Runner-up
London Film Critics Circle Awards[41] Actress of the Year Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association[42] Best Actress Runner-up
MPSE Golden Reel Awards[43] Feature English Language – Dialogue/ADR Javier Bennassar Nominated
National Board of Review[44] Best Actress Julianne Moore Won
Top 10 Independent Films Still Alice Won
Online Film Critics Society[45] Best Actress Julianne Moore Nominated
Palm Springs International Film Festival[46] Desert Palm Achievement Award Won
San Francisco Film Critics Circle[47] Best Actress Won
Satellite Awards[48] Best Actress – Motion Picture Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards[49] Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Won
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association[50] Best Actress Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[51] Choice Movie Actress: Drama Kristen Stewart Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association[52] Best Actress Julianne Moore Runner-up
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association[53] Best Actress Won
Women Film Critics Circle Best Actress Won
Courage in Acting Won


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External links[edit]