A man coping with the institutionalization of his wife because of Alzheimer's disease faces an epiphany when she transfers her affections to another man, Aubrey, a wheelchair-bound mute who also is a patient at the nursing home.
The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Connecticut.
Grant and Fiona Anderson have been married for forty-four years. Their marriage has been a generally happy and loving one although not perfect due to some indiscretions when Grant was working as a college professor. Fiona has just been admitted to Meadowlake, a long term care facility near their country home in southwestern Ontario, because her recent lapses of memory have been diagnosed as a probable case of Alzheimer's disease. She and Grant made this decision together, although a still lucid Fiona seems to have made peace with the decision and her diagnosis more so than Grant. With respect to the facility, what Grant has the most difficulty with are what he sees as the sadness associated with the facility's second floor - where the more advanced cases are housed - but most specifically the facility's policy of no visitors within the first thirty days of admission to allow the patient to adjust more easily to their new life there. Based on what he sees when he is finally able to ... Written by
The movie somewhat mirrored actor Gordon Pinsent's real life, when his wife, actress Charmion King, died of emphysema in January 2007, four months after "Away from Her" premiered. See more »
When Fiona checks into the nursing home, she writes her husband a note telling him to go home. The note is signed 'Fona,' not 'Fiona.' See more »
I'm thinking that sometimes you just have to make the decision to be happy. Just decide. Things aren't ever what you hoped they'd be. Not ever, for anybody. The only thing that separates one kind of person from another is there are some who stay angry about it and there are some who... accept what comes their way.
Which kind of person are you?
I was pretty mad about it. But now... looking at what came my way
I think I could be the other kind of person. Quite the philosopher, huh?
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The fact that Fiona - the "her" from the title - is played by Julie Christie makes the painful journey crystal clear. Julie Christie is a wonder. She manages for us,without sentimentality but with an intelligence that makes the point of the story profoundly human, to get close to the illness with sadness yes but without fear. Alzheimer's disease is like a dark tunnel that the afflicted enter without wanting to, without being able to avoid it. I've wondered what was like to be aware of it, I mean, to know that sooner rather than later you will forget everything and everyone. Sarah Polley, the director, works a little miracle here giving us Julie Christie to answer that question. I felt enormously close to Fiona's husband - a wonderful performance by Gordon Pinsent - and came out of the experience uplifted rather than depressed.
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