Away From Her

"Good"

Away From Her Review


The act of being forgotten becomes pop-Bergman fair in Sarah Polley's Away from Her. If Polley's name rings a few bells, its because she was a rather prominent ingénue of independent cinema in the early '00s, her range swinging from Doug Liman's rollicking Go to Atom Egoyan's solemn, sublime The Sweet Hereafter. Here, director Egoyan serves as executive producer and gives the floor to Polley as she translates Alice Munro's short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" to the screen.

Fiona (Julie Christie) has begun to lose her memory as an effect of Alzheimer's. Grant (Gordon Pinsent), her husband, can only sigh heavily as he watches her slip away; at one point, she puts a frying pan in the freezer. Begrudgingly, Grant signs Fiona into a home for people with Alzheimer's and other diseases incurred through aging. There's a catch: He can't see her for a month, allowing her to settle in without any debilitations. He returns to find Fiona's memory thickly veiled, only remembering him as a figure without nuance. It also happens that Fiona has become cozy with a catatonic, wheelchair-bound man named Aubrey (Michael Murphy). While attempting to get his wife to remember him, Grant makes time to visit with Aubrey's wife Marian (a fantastic Olympia Dukakis) to see what her side is like.

Visually, Polley has a perceptive, if mundane, eye for composition and fluidity. The house, the rest home, and even the frozen-over tundra that Fiona skis on have the wrapped feeling of a cocoon, giving an insular tone to the piece. In narrative terms, however, the erstwhile actress doesn't take any chances and sticks directly to Grant's state of mind. This decision leaves the film in borderline Hallmark territory, but the lack of total catharsis gives the film a more resonant feeling that keeps the film rooted. The restrained mood causes muted emotions, allowing for all the characters to be explored with subtlety and grace.

Like any rabid fan, Polley loves her source material and it comes out as a healthy boost to the film's veneer but a large detriment to thematic content. Munro's language, sometimes copied verbatim, works very well in fiction but becomes awkward in the film's realistic syntax. But the poetic duck-and-weave keeps the story from veering off into sentimentality. Unfortunately, the director's obvious connection to the story and its flow hurts the script ultimately because there's a strong want to keep the story's vernacular onscreen when a script of this sort calls for more barren language.

However, you've got to hand it to Polley in the end. Her work with actors is assured and her love for her source, though wounding here, shows an allegiance to mood and atmosphere. All the actors, Pinsent especially, give stark, aware performances that actually curve out the rougher angles in the script. In its wobbly whole, Away from Her lingers as a hazy, blurry account of fading moments.

Take off the coat. It's May.



Away From Her

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th April 2007

Box Office USA: $15.8M

Distributed by: Lionsgate

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 135 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Jennifer Weiss, Simone Urdl

Starring: as Fiona, as Aubrey, as Grant, as Marian, Kristen Thomson as Kristy, as Madeleine, as Dr. Fischer, Thomas Hauff as William Hart, Deanna Dezmari as Veronica, as Monica, Grace Lynn Kung as Betty, Melanie Merkosky as Singing Nurse

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.