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Away from Her (2006)

PG-13 | | Drama | 25 May 2007 (USA)
2:28 | Trailer

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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.



, (short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain")
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 62 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stacey LaBerge ...
Young Fiona
Deanna Dezmari ...
Clare Coulter ...
Phoebe Hart
William Hart
Dr. Fischer
Nurse Betty
Lili Francks ...
Madeleine Montpellier
Judy Sinclair ...
Mrs. Albright
Tom Harvey ...
Carolyn Hetherington ...


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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's never too late to become what you might have been See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

25 May 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lejos de ella  »

Box Office


CAD 4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$53,267 (USA) (4 May 2007)


$15,830,046 (USA) (13 July 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sarah Polley first came across Alice Munro's story when she read it on a flight back from Iceland where she'd been filming Hal Hartley's No Such Thing (2001). Having just worked with Julie Christie, Polley couldn't help but envision the main part of Fiona with Christie playing her. 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 »


Kristy: And, how old were you when you met?
Grant Anderson: She was 18.
Kristy: Holy! That's pretty young to get married, eh?
Grant Anderson: Wasn't my idea.
Kristy: You mean she proposed to you? Well, that's lovely, that's what I think. How'd she do it?
Grant Anderson: She hadn't planned it necessarily. We were in Tobermory, waiting for the ferry to Manitoulin, and it was miserable and rainy, and she was in a good mood. And, she didn't want any part of my sour mood.
Kristy: What'd she do, what'd she say?
Grant Anderson: Well, she said: "Do you think it'd be fun... Do you think it'd be ...
See more »


Referenced in Mon clown (2008) See more »


Harvest Moon
Performed by Neil Young
Written by Neil Young
Silver Fiddle Music (ASCAP)
Licensed courtesy of Warner Music Canada
Used by permission
All rights reserved
See more »

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User Reviews

Promising directorial debut for Sarah Polley
20 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a story about Alzheimer's Disease (AD), its effect on those who suffer from it, and, principally, the difficulties that it poses for relatives who see their loved one decay mentally before death. Julie Christie plays Fiona, a woman whose dementia progresses rather rapidly. Her husband, Grant, is dejected with their predicament as Fiona is moved to a specialized facility and within it between wards dealing with patients with differing levels of impairment.

The depiction of dementia through the character of Fiona and other patients around her is good but not excellent. From my, avowedly limited and not professional, experience with AD-afflicted close and distant relatives, numerous visits to a number of nursing homes -- from the fancy to the abject -- and long hours roaming the often depressing corridors of the wards observing the behavior of old folks whose minds had gone potty, I believe I picked inaccuracies in the behavior of Fiona and her fellow seniors that threw me off. It is not uncommon at the early stages of AD to think that the person may be pretending. Grant thinks that way too at first. I had to agree with him. I had trouble accepting an AD sufferer at the advanced stage of not recognizing a loved one of more than forty years still displaying a keen short-term memory capacity. Could it be that Fiona what exacting some kind of revenge on Grant past dalliances?

The depiction of nursing homes and the commentary about AD is accurate. Sarah Polley has clearly spent time visiting such places. From what I understand, she had to deal with her own mother's dementia for about five years. She has first hand experience. The only thing missing in the film, is the sometimes lackadaisical attention by bored staff you see in real life. But, who knows, Canadian senior care may be a lot better.

The story has an important additional element in the form of Marian, played superbly by Olivia Dukakis, whose husband has advanced AD. She illustrates the wrenching decisions that families face. Send the demented relative to an expensive nursing home and go broke doing so or keep the patient at home and live progressively more hellish days. That aspect of the disease jives perfectly with the shared experience of Grant and Marian as they deal with spouses that become unable to reciprocate the love they are given.

The patients at the nursing home are actors. Despite their best efforts, I found the depictions short of perfect. It is really difficult to ape exactly the tentative and struggling moves of a frail body or the glazed eyes of a lost soul who no longer can comprehend the world.

The aforementioned criticisms should be considered minor. Sarah Polley's first venture as a director shows she has what it takes. That is helped by a very good adaptation to the screen of Alice Munro's short story. Overall the casting is excellent.

Funded by the Ontario province at a cost short of C$5M and shot in that province. Don't miss it.

63 of 81 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Ending.... go on, comment, it'll be fun bh64
How can he afford it? And goof comment. SueBee55
This movie was NOT sad. snarkiness
What was the baggage in this couple's life? n3kas
Fiona crying? politiciandiva
Conversation between Marian and Grant .. ? sherineyousery
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