Comments on watching and making films.

Friday, January 11, 2008

DVD - Away From Her

Sarah Polley, one of indie films girls of choice, wrote and directed her debut feature last year, the film Away From Her.  Polley has been acting since the mid-80's, in both American and Canadian productions (she's a native of our neighbor to the north), and, in that time, has garnered a loyal following, both in the business and from audiences.

1960's sexpot Julie Christie stars as Fiona Anderson, an elderly woman who is showing signs of Alzheimer's. Her husband, Grant (played by Gordon Pinsent), is having to face the fact that the time is quickly coming, in which he will be unable to take care of her needs on a daily basis. Oddly enough, Fiona seems very excepting of the idea of going into a rest home, but the caveat for Grant is that she must be left alone for thirty days. No visitors, not even him, are allowed.

By the time the thirty days are up, Grant goes to visit his wife and finds a woman who, not only doesn't remember him, but has built a new relationship with a man who is in a similar position to her. Grant refuses to give up, though, and makes multiple attempts to get Fiona to recognize him and their relationship, only to find that those memories are gone.

Away From Her is, probably, one of the best films I have ever seen about Alzheimer's. Christie really makes you feel the confusion and pain that Fiona is going through, and you can't help but feel sympathy for Gordon, especially if you have ever had a relative who has suffered from Alzheimer's.

I will say that I felt this story was a lot simpler than I thought it would be, but I don't think that it's a handicap, per say, I was just a little surprised. Over all, though, Away From Her is a well crafted and heart-felt film. It's doesn't rip your heart out and spit on it, but it tugs hard at you, and makes you feel like a human being. And isn't that what great film does?

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