Away From Her Reviews
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.
The story of a woman who is put in a home after she develops Alzheimer's Disease, how her and her husband cope with with this, and how their relationship is affected.
Very sensitively told, making for a very emotional movie. Maybe too sensitively done: the film moves incredibly slowly. Every scene is drawn out to breaking point. Plus there are some incredibly frustrating turns of events, which add to the irritation.
However, the level of engagement with the characters is high enough for you to sit through it all.
It's not a perfect movie, far from it - for the reasons mentioned above and the lack of a punchy or profound ending - but is watchable and endurable.
I also enjoyed some of the elements that were added, like the occasional humor to lighten the atmosphere (for example, when Fiona pretends to not remember something, then says "just kidding," and more notably the man at Meadowlake who narrates everything happening around him).
I could really feel for Grant throughout the movie. Whenever he'd approach Fiona, I'd cringe a little, knowing that him acting like her husband would confuse her, and even make her angry in some cases (the "just...don't" was heartbreaking), yet I could completely understand why he'd act the way he did. And then it ended on that perfect bittersweet note, with her remembering him and them sharing one peaceful moment together (though I kinda felt bad for Aubrey, waiting for her in the background).
The acting in this simple tale based on an Alice Munro short story is powerful and compelling. The staging and cinematography, however, are odd at times. There are some beautiful scenes, but there are also some scenes that either contain ambiguous symbolism or outright continuity errors. Although the story seems to cover at least a year, all the scenes are shot in winter; characters are always bundled up in heavy coats and scarves. Cross-country skiing is a recurring motif. It's as though Polley is experimenting with different camera and lighting techniques on her first feature, so there is an inconsistent feel to the visuals.
Still, this is a proud Canadian film that is touching and heartfelt.