Sunday, May 24, 2009

Away From Her (2006) PG13 - 3½ Stars

A sad look into Alzheimer's Disease, and how it can effect you and the ones you love. Do we cease to exist when our memories of what used to be fade away? An aging couple has been married for most of their lives and their love alone has provided them throughout the years. Now as the wife forgets the man she is married to, he must come to grips with watching her slip away from his life. Strong performances by Christie as you watch her seemingly somewhat sane, but loosing all concepts of reality and Anderson hopelessly watching their demise.

Fiona (Julie Christie), and Grant Anderson (Gordon Pinsent), have been married and "Soul Mates" for many happy years. Retired, they live in a nice country setting where their favorite past time of cross country skiing is right outside their back door. As time passes by, Grant notices Fiona loosing track of simple things the couples once did like putting things that don't belong in the refrigerator and always seeming to not know what she did 5 minutes ago. Now into their elder years, Grant, still strongly in love with Fiona, has overlooked the small things to make her life as comfortable as possible. But as Fiona realises her mind is slipping away, she insists she be taken to a home allowing the burden removed from her husband. Gordon reluctantly goes along with Fiona's plans as he is compassionate to her needs. Once she's checked in, the focused home's Administrator Madeleine (Wendy Crewson), insists there be no communications with his wife for one month to allow her to settle into her new permanent home.

Gordon feels like he is giving up on his wife, but allows her wishes and travels to the home to see her, if only from a far. Veronica (Deanna Dezmari), a nurse at the home, shows Gordan the understanding needed as he watches his wife interact with patients at the home. As Fiona becomes more settled her nurturing tendencies come out allowing her to become close to another patient, Aubrey (Michael Murphy), who's suffering from the same memory loss but farther advanced. Other than Veronica, Aubrey's wife Marian (Olympia Dukakis), is the only one Gordon can relate to and he looks to her for answers on what to do next. Together, they try and find the strength to do what's best for their lives.

Awards include:

2007 - Away From Her - Alliance of Women Film Journalists - Best Adapted Screenplay
2007 - Away From Her - New York Film Critics Circle - Best First Film
2007 - Away From Her - Ohio Film Critics - Breakthrough Film Artist
2007 - Away From Her - Screen Actors Guild - Best Actress
2007 - Away From Her - National Board of Review - Best Independent Film

Lionsgate, Victorious Films, Pulling Focus Pictures, The Film Farm, Foundry Films
Director: Sarah Polley
Writer: Sarah Polley
Producers: Simone Urdl, Daniel Iron, Jennifer Weiss
I viewed 5/09

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