Away From Her Reviews
Really liked this film. Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie both gave wonderfully full performances.
A slow, sensitive, and deeply affecting drama, Away From Her features wonderful performances by its leads and Sarah Polley's steady directorial hand. Julie Christie is wonderfully tragic, beating Julianne Moore to this punch a long time ago, and Gordon Pinsent, whom I've never seen before, positively carries this film. Grant is flawed - his flaws sometimes hijacking the plot - but he also seems like the type of husband that we might all wish we were or had. And the ending ... well, it's subtle and lovely and very sad.
Overall, with all due respect to Still Alice, Away From Her is one of the best films about Alzheimer's.
Starring: Julie Christie, Olypmia Dukakis, Gordon Pinsent.
<<"I'd like to make love, and then I'd like you to go. Because I need to stay here and if you make it hard for me, I may cry so hard I'll never stop.">>
The story introduces us to elderly married couple Fiona and Grant, of 44 years, who are still very much in love since they day they got married. Fiona has Alzheimer's and is slowly deteriorating away at such a young age, it has come to the point that they must send her to a nursing home. There, she is left for 30 days to adjust away from Grant (or as such, the other way around) and when he goes to visit, he must deal with the pain of what she has come to and the strange affection Fiona has built with another male patient.
No words of mine can describe the sheer beauty and brilliance of this film, a film deserving of Oscars, that I hope this time next year, the film will be recognized by a wider audience.
The strongest element of this film is most certainly Sarah Polley, a young actress of 28 years old doing her first directional/writing feature debut and she is wise beyond her years. She has created a poetic masterpiece that is so pure and so well developed, the dialogue is amazingly strong and thoughtful, she injects such humanity and heart into every element of this picture that she seems to finally be a light in dark Hollywood.
Julie Christie has only ever been a name to me, being the age that I am, I don't think I have had the pleasure of seeing her films to see why her name is praised so much...now I can see why. She delivers one of the most heartwarming, heartbreaking, powerfully poetic performances in many years, she shows such great range and her experience shines through on screen, if she doesn't win the Oscar next year, then it will be a disgrace.
The supporting cast is also very strong, from the humorous ex-sports caster and cheeky elderly woman, to the simple roles of silence from the patients, but the standout is Gordon Pinset. Another actor I wish I had seen along time ago. He has a very tricky role that requires a lot of depth,control and most of all, believability...and he hits it right on the head. Its all in his eyes and his face, he shows wisdom in his years, his face appears very detailed to show a hard life, his eyes have so much love and loss in them, that he steals every scene he is in.
Unforgettable, poetic, deep, moving, thoughtful, heartwarming, heartbreaking...no words of mine can do this film any justice, it needs to be seen and loved. A masterpiece.
<< "I think all we can aspire to in this situation is a little bit of grace. " >>
Away From Her deals with the death of love in a very odd way. I found it surprisingly difficult to watch that love fade from Fiona's mind while it still burns brightly in Grant's - a termination of their 45-year marriage in the worst of ways. I wouldn't call this a tearjerker, because it's too restrained for flashy emotional displays. What it is is a sobering, tragic tale. It just made me feel kind of bummed out and heartsick. Even the ending, which closes the film on a ray of hope, is brought back to moribund reality when you remember an earlier line from a nurse.
This could easily have become a fatty angst-fest, but Polley does a better job than that. Like I said before, the characters keep themselves from exploding into any hysterics or long-winded emotional rumination. The movie is infused with just a few touches of humor and levity, which kept me from being completely miserable the entire time. Away From Her is always full of bright snowy light; it's difficult to describe its effect on the movie. To descend into a cheesy metaphor, I guess it reminded me a little bit of heaven, like some sort of resting place for the love that Fiona cherished so deeply before she fell apart.
If this movie doesn't make you terrified of Alzheimer's, you probably don't have a soul. Polley makes Grant's struggle very accessible to the audience: we see that he has spent 45 years with a personality that fills him, completes him, and now he must watch it disintegrate before his eyes. I couldn't begin to imagine what that would be like, losing an old friend or loved one to this condition. Away From Her presents the viewer with that very real possibility in an even-handed, touching way.