Still Alice (Blu-ray Review)

still alice coverNow on Blu-ray is Still Alice, the film that finally won Julianne Moore an Oscar for her acting talents. The film also stars Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth. It concerns the battle Moore’s character faces, upon learning about a horrible diagnosis that will most certainly affect her and her loved ones. I’ll go into whether or not the film is worth your, as well as dig into what the Blu-ray experience for this award-winning drama has to offer.




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Still Alice is the kind of movie I sigh at when it comes to looking at what kind of acclaim it received. Sure, Julianne Moore is great in a film that requires her to play a character struck with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. If anything, this film would be a joke if it couldn’t find a way to get an effective performance out of Moore in a role like this, let alone not be able to have the feel of a devastating drama, given the subject matter. The question I have is what else does this movie do?

Early on we learn that Dr. Alice Howard (Moore), the celebrated linguistics professor at Columbia University, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We soon learn more about Alice’s family, which includes her two daughters (Bosworth and Stewart), her son (Hunter Parrish), and her loving husband (Alec Baldwin). The film goes through the various steps of showing us who this family is, along with dealing with how Alice’s disease will affect all of them.

There is nothing inherently wrong with what this film presents, but the material never rises above what I could have seen in a TV movie. Aside from getting a very talented cast to play these roles, the film leaves more to be desired in terms of the how this story has been written and assembled. I am trying to say this with all the respect in the world, because the film is, at the very least, competent. The film comes together well enough, but any chance there is to make this movie pull at every emotional thread possible, Still Alice makes sure to go there.

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It is not terrible to be emotionally manipulated by a film, as that is what films do in general; regardless of how overt that may end up being. That said, Still Alice really goes out of its way to try and make you cry, which is not hard to do, given the nature of what Alice is going through. That’s why I come at it with a sigh, because I don’t need to be pushed so hard by a film dealing with Alzheimer’s. It’s Alzheimer’s; we know how devastating that can be.

If there is something to point out, it’s the performances. Yes, Moore is fantastic and it is completely expected, let alone deserving of praise. I want to point more towards two of the supporting performances. Both Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart do great work. Baldwin is great at reminding us of how solid a dramatic performer he can be. Meanwhile, Stewart is in another role that continues to show off her skills and how unfairly maligned she constantly is, because of some movie series that many seem to want to hold a grudge against.

Overall, Still Alice plays out exactly how you expect and that makes it a decent film. It has incredibly strong performances, which was obviously taken note of by many, but there is little else to really rally for. We continue to know what can make us emotional on film and only time will tell what performer next wins heaps of praise for playing a role involving a devastating disease, injury, or handicap. It’s not that I’m picking on Still Alice, but honestly, I get it.

[Note: As a reviewer, I am only going by what I see and how I felt, which does incorporate my own personal experiences. As always, I am all for anyone that enjoys any movie, regardless of the message. As such, for anyone that has had to deal with any of the issues presented in this film and found it to be successful, they should in know way feel challenged just because I happen to disagree with the quality of this particular film, regardless of the many positives I brought up. I am also glad for however this film has managed to both bring awareness to Alzheimer’s, let alone aid in the research of said disease, as far as finding better ways to treat it goes.]


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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: Some softness here and there does not hold back the film from having a relatively clean and clear transfer onto Blu-ray. It is not a very visually complicated movie, but it works as far as environmental details and so on.

Depth: The use of focus playing into the film’s story for Alice allows this Blu-ray to get across a sense of depth that is generally pretty effective.

Black Levels: There are some instances of crush, but the black levels mostly come across fine.

Color Reproduction: The colors are balanced quite well and always lively. Cloths and some scenery stand out in particular.

Flesh Tones: Character details, facial textures, and other actor elements are brought over in a successful enough way to round out the video presentation.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing here.



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Audio Format(s): English and Fench 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

Dynamics: Not a flashy film, which means there is not a ton to go on as far as how all the audio elements come together, but this lossless track certainly supports the film relatively simple nature.

Low Frequency Extension: Really not much to say here, but some of the music adds to this channel.

Surround Sound Presentation: The film has a front and center focus, which makes sense, but some scenes allow for a nice understanding of the balance involved to bring this film’s audio track together.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is loud and clear.


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It would have been nicer to get a commentary or more in the way of developing this film’s story, given that it is both based on a book and surely has many real life inspirations to draw from. That said, you get a few things here that are decent.

Features Include:

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 6:30)
  • Directing Alice (HD, 8:40) – A look at directors Wash Westermoreland and Richard Glatzer (who passed away before this Blu-ray release) and their work on the filmmaking process.
  • Finding Alice (HD, 9:20) – A look at how Moore prepared for the role with a real-life Alzheimer’s patient.
  • Interview with Composer Ilan Eshkeri (HD, 6:29) – The film’s composer discusses his process.
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • UltraViolet Copy of the Film


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I may be coming down a bit strong on Still Alice, but I can’t say the film falls into a category of amazing for showing me a really talented actress is good at effectively playing a role that would be hard for her to screw up. The film is still competently made and works for what it is, just not in a very original sort of way. The Blu-ray is solid in its presentation, though not an amazing one as far as the audio and the extra features. Worth checking out for some solid performances, if you’re in the mood for a drama, but not much else.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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