By Merle Exit
The frontrunner for this year’s Best Actress Oscar, Julianne Moore, was in Astoria last week to introduce her newest motion picture, “Still Alice,” at the Museum of the Moving Image.
In the film, written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, Moore portrays a renowned linguistic professor at Columbia University, Dr. Alice Howland, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.
“They had a pretty unique vision of the story they wanted to tell of this woman going through a horrendous journey of this disease,” said Moore.
At first Alice does not think much is wrong after having a “senior moment” and not being able to remember the right word in a conversation. Things quickly get worse, however, when during her daily jog through the campus Alice suddenly realizes she has no idea where she is. But when she has an accident at home because she cannot remember which door leads to the bathroom, she agrees to be tested for Alzheimer’s.
The film focuses not only on how Alice copes with the loss of herself, but also how her family, played by Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish, deal with the realization that Alice’s memories of them will soon be gone forever.
“What was interesting about this movie is that Richard was recently diagnosed with ALS. By the time we shot it, he lost his mobility from the waist up,” said Moore. “The movie was made not in the spirit of loss or diminishment but in hopefulness and joyfulness and the idea that you’re never more grateful for the life you’ve had when you’re closest to loss.”
The day after the Queens screening, Moore was nominated for her fifth Academy Award for her performance.
Which probably came as somewhat of a surprise after believing this movie might never see a theatrical release.
“We had to get it done in time for the Toronto Film Festival and I thought, ‘That’s it. It won’t go anywhere after that,’” said Moore. “We had a pretty inauspicious screening on a Monday at 4:30 and although only three people from the press came, Sony Classics attended and immediately picked up the movie.”
“Still Alice” was the first of a series of Julianne Moore films being presented at the Museum of the Moving Image through Jan. 26.
Other screenings include her turn as a porn star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 movie “Boogie Nights,” her foray into Hollywood blockbuster territory with Stephen Spielberg’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” and a couple of performances in independent film auteur Todd Haynes’ “Safe” and “Far From Heaven.”
Tickets are included with museum admission on a first-come, first-served basis.
For a complete schedule, check the museum’s website at www.movingimage.us.