Saturday, May 9, 2015

BOOK VS MOVIE: Still Alice

Life is a very fickle thing. You expect everything to be fine and dandy but then one thing comes along and proceeds to throw everything into chaos. It could be something simple like losing a job or something more affecting like the death of someone close to you.

Still Alice focuses on the effects of a debilitating disease (in this case, Alzheimer's disease) on a family. As the disease progresses, emotional bonds begin to fray. What will decay faster: the health of the patient or the well-being of their family?

Lisa Genova's novel is an absolutely heartbreaking read. Much like Flowers for Algernon, it's devastating for the reader to witness the brilliant mind of this Harvard professor slowly fall to pieces. And Genova's writing style depicts the mental decline through the eyes of the patient, which makes it all the more heartrending.

A few changes aside (changing the location from Boston to New York City for starters), Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's adaptation stays true to Genova's novel. Though it becomes clear early on that it's a film more dependent on the performances than the strength of the script. That said, the actors (particularly Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart) do try their best and manage to deliver.

So which of the two is better? Glatzer and Westmoreland do try to match up with Genova but they don't try hard enough. Something about it feels...artificial. (And yes, it's cruel to say knowing that Glatzer died several months after the film's release.) But it's clear which one triumphs.

What's worth checking out?: The book.

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