Analysis of the Movie Still Alice

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As an American drama film released in the year 2014, the movie is written and directed based on a favorite novel of the same name by Lisa Genova. This paper, therefore, seeks to explore the movie, Still Alice, through analyzing it from the various perspective as well as examining the mental health illness captured in the film.

Alice's Diagnosis and Early Symptoms

As the main character in the movie, Alice Howland is a University linguistics professor. She celebrates her fiftieth birthday together with her husband, John, who is a physician and their three grown-up children. However, while on her daily roles, Alice finds herself forgetting some words and during a jog in campus, she also becomes lost. It is then that her doctor diagnoses her with a start of familial Alzheimer's condition. As such, her eldest daughter and son Anna and Tom decides to take a genetic test to know whether there are chances of them developing the disease. The younger daughter, Lydia, an ambitious actress, however, decided not to take the test (Genova, 2014).

As days go by, Alice memory continues to fade. According to the movie, she starts to daydream seeing her mother and sister who had died a long while ago when she was a teenager in car carnage. As her condition become worse, she starts to hide sleeping pills and creates a video text to remind her. She loses her work because of the condition. In fact, she becomes unable to recognize her daughter, Lydia while performing.

Alice's Journey and Challenges

When her husband, John, is offered a job in a clinic in Minnesota, Alice asks him not to accept the offer immediately, but John cannot delay. Later, Alice gives a speech about her experience with Alzheimer's condition where she gets standing acclaim. At this point, Alice is unable to answer questions from her phone and loses it for a month which she thinks it is barely a day. She is unable to recognize Anna when she and John visit Anna in the hospital to see their newborn twin grandchildren. At the end of the movie, Alice endeavors to commit suicide but her caregiver arrives forcing her to drop the pills she intended to swallow.

Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

The mental health illness in the movie is Alzheimer. According to the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association, diagnosis of this condition follows three stages (Hinton & Levkoff, 1999). First is preclinical which is to assess thinking difficulties and dementia. The second stage or guideline is the use of biomarker tests together with clinical assessments to determine if an individual is in their early stages of the disease. Lastly, there is testing of a person which include blood examinations and brain imaging to understand the types of symptoms. No cure for Alzheimer's condition, albeit there are management strategies and medication which improves the symptoms. Two types of drugs used currently are Cholinesterase inhibitors which improve cell communication via providing of acetylcholine which is depleted by the disease in the brain. The other drug is Namenda which slows the advancement of the symptoms (Hinton & Levkoff, 1999). Exercising regularly is essential because it boosts mood and ensuring health joints and heart. Nutrition of people with Alzheimer's needs to have more of calories, fruits, vegetables and water to boost their brain.

Portrayal of Alzheimer's in Still Alice

In the movie, Alice is used as a fictional character to represent many women and men in the society who suffer silently from the disease. The movie captures the challenges that Alice goes through because of the disease, and this brings out the relationship of the two as Alice endeavors to conquer the disease. The mental health illness is portrayed fairly in the movie. For example, its symptoms and effects in the early stages are clearly depicted.


Genova, L. (2014). Still alice. Simon and Schuster.

Hinton, W. L., & Levkoff, S. (1999). Constructing Alzheimer's: narratives of lost identities,        confusion and loneliness in old age. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 23(4), 453-475.

October 13, 2023



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