Still Alice: Film vs Book

Still Alice, the film, has finally come out in the UK and, after reading the book, I finally got to go and see it. Since I have not written a review for the book yet, I thought I would combine the two and do a comparison, incorporating the review as I did so.

The book, written by Lisa Genova, follows a linguistics professor, Alice, as she learns that she has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and must cope as it slowly progresses and changes her life forever. The book reads well. It is not complicated, instead telling the story in language that one can slip into, allowing for a focus on the characters and emotion of the book. It is written from Alice’s perspective, so you get a first-hand account of the deterioration of her mind, as well as seeing how her family reacts to the disease. I really enjoyed reading the book. I thought it effective and emotional. There were, however, parts that could have been expanded upon more, with more consequences or depth, as there were a couple of loose ends.

The film follows the same plot as the book and follows it quite closely. As it an adaption of the book, limited to only a couple of hours, it did have to cut out a number of scenes and subplots. However, I think it cut out too much. The film focuses on Alice – we got to know her very well and see the deterioration in clear, emotional detail. By focusing on Alice, we do lose a lot of the other characters. It would have been interesting to see how Alice’s situation affected those around her. This was touched upon, but only slightly with very little depth. You don’t really get a sense of who Alice is before the disease hits which is disappointing as, not only does the film start off quite slowly, it limits how much you can see of the character behind her memory deficits. That being said, I did think the film was emotional and there were some really powerful scenes.

Overall, I thought that the book was a lot better than the film – it captured more of Alice and those around her, while the film seemed to focus more on Alzheimer’s disease than anything else. I can see why Julianne Moore won an Oscar – her performance was incredible, but the rest of the film was a little bit lacking. It needed a bit more depth for me to fully enjoy.

Book Rating: 4/5

Film Rating: 3/5

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