Away From Her

2007

Away From Her

Critics Consensus

An accomplished directorial debut by Sarah Polley, Away From Her is a touching exploration of the effects of Alzheimer's, in which the tender wisdom of Polley's script is beautifully complemented by a wonderful performance from Julie Christie.

94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 143

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 114,743
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Movie Info

Married for almost 50 years, Grant and Fiona's commitment to each other appears unwavering, and their everyday life is full of tenderness and humor. This serenity is broken only by the occasional, carefully restrained reference to the past, giving a sense that this marriage may not always have been such a fairy tale. This tendency of Fiona's to make such references, along with her increasingly evident memory loss, creates a tension that is usually brushed off casually by both of them. But, when it is no longer possible for either of them to ignore the fact that Fiona is being consumed by Alzheimer's disease, the limits of their love and loyalty must be wrenchingly redefined.

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Critic Reviews for Away From Her

All Critics (143) | Top Critics (46)

  • Sarah Polley, a terrific actress, now serves notice that she is a director to watch.

    May 21, 2007
  • Beautifully written, from an Alice Munro short story, this movie directed by an actress rarely missteps, even when it bravely includes the dark humor inherent in this situation.

    May 18, 2007 | Rating: 4/5
  • Superb, from its subtle atmospheres to its fine performances. Julie Christie is exquisite as ever purveying the spirit of a woman whose radiance remains even as it dims like the glow of sunset on a snowbound lake.

    May 11, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ted Fry

    Seattle Times
    Top Critic
  • Away From Her got to me in a way no other movie has this year, eliciting copious tears.

    May 11, 2007 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • As this intimate, beautifully observed film unfolds, you realize that the story's themes are relevant no matter what age you happen to be.

    May 11, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Sarah Polley's sad, wise and simply dazzling directorial effort beams with warmth.

    May 11, 2007 | Rating: 4/4

Audience Reviews for Away From Her

  • May 29, 2015
    A husband's devotion to his wife is tested when she suffers from Alzheimer's and must go to a nursing home. 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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Feb 12, 2013
    An honest and compassionate look at the effects of dementia on an older couple's relationship, Away from Her is very powerful and affecting, and Julie Christie gives an astoundingly nuanced and sensitive performance as Fiona, the Alzheimer-afflicted wife. A very good drama, and an especially impressive one given that it was directed by actress and first-time director Sarah Polley, who was only 27 years old when the film was made.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 30, 2012
    This is a complicated, textured, nuanced film about the effects Alzheimer's can have on relationships. I've been a fan of Sarah Polley since Go!, but it's hard to believe that such a young director made this movie. Olympia Dukakis is a gem. The script is based on Alice Munro's short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain
    Juli R Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2010
    Easily one of the most heartbreaking and saddening films of all time, this directorial debut from actress Sarah Polley deals with the deterioration of a mind, but more importantly a marriage. Set in the drifts of the Canadian snow, Polley creates a vast landscape constructed of bare boned memories and nerve touching emotions. She pieces together a narrative that shows their entire forty four years together, though the love each expresses for the other is encapsulated in tender moments of reflection and reconciliation. As his wife starts to lose her memory bit by bit, Grant (Pinsent) mostly denies that she has a problem at all, and as time passes even further, he has to slowly say goodbye to a woman he has formerly wronged, and made right to. Their love is so deep and lively, with their breadth of knowledge, of inner peace, and that's shown in the performances of Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie, who really remain the most poignant of any onscreen couple. There is nothing more heart aching than watching Christie as she slowly loses any recognition for the man she has loved for most of her life. Pinsent's character remains stoic throughout the incident, and holds out hope for her memory to return, and that makes it all the more heart breaking when it doesn't. The way this film is paced is beautiful, taking into account the lives that they lived before Christie's decline, but also looking at what has happened, at the new relationships that are forming, of letting go to someone you simply can't live without, for their own benefit, and being okay with it. Tears will stream down your face as they lose each other, without one of them ever knowing.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer

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