7.6/10
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Away from Her (2006)

PG-13 | | Drama | 25 May 2007 (USA)
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.

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Writers:

, (short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain")

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 62 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Sometimes you have to let go of what you can't live without. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

25 May 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lejos de ella  »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

The misspelling of Fiona's name by Fiona herself is a typical and revealing error made by Alzheimer's patients. Coming as it does just after Grant has tried to use the episode of her remembering the recent walk in the park and finding the skunk lilies as a means of continuing his denial, the misspelling brings home to him the futility of his resistance to the truth about her condition. See more »

Quotes

Grant Anderson: I'm quite aware of your policies. I'm more than aware of your fucking policies.
[Kristy leads Frank down the hallway, past a devastated Grant]
Frank: [as a play-by-play announcer] Well, once again, Nurse Kristy is taking me back to the second floor. The area to my right are the elevators, and as we go on down the hall, there's a man with a broken heart, broken in a thousand pieces. Well, we'll go to Madeleine's office, past the lunch room. Hopefully, they're serving right now. The cannelloni was cold ...
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Soundtracks

Missing You
Music & Lyrics by Pam Armstrong
Performed by The Strap-Ons
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User Reviews

 
Film of the Young Year
4 May 2007 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

When it comes to "Away from Her," the overused, abused adjective cannot be avoided: it is a great film.

Sarah Polley's film grips, holds, moves, thrills; you will think and talk about it, remember the story and the characters indefinitely - which could well serve as a dictionary definition of "great film." All this from a 27-year-old first-time director!

You will see advertising and hear talk about "the one with Julie Christie having Alzheimer's," but that describes "Away from Her" no better than saying "Hamlet" is about a man who cannot make up his mind. Yes, Fiona, Christie's character, is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, but the actress - as beautiful as ever and in her greatest role here - creates a complex, full figure, with good moments and bad ones, with intelligence, warmth, carrying regrets and hurts with grace. The outstanding Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent is Grant, Fiona's loving husband for long, rich decades, albeit with their share of problems.

As the story unfolds, Grant and Fiona face the obvious, the inevitable, but for the audience, there is nothing obvious or inevitable about the way things happen. Polley's writing is Stoppardian in its complexity and brilliance - there is nothing predigested and Hollywoodish here, only life and people as infinitely complex as the human brain. Even as it deteriorates, the brain - and the film about this tragic process - retains its surprises and wonders, and to the very last scene of "Away from Her," you cannot sit back and assume you know what will happen. You don't; the film's unpredictability is one of its great assets.

Add to Polley's script (based on Alice Munro's "The Bear Came Over the Mountain") and direction, to Christie's and Pinsent's magnificent individual and ensemble acting, a cast to treasure. Olympia Dukakis and Michael Murphy play a couple whose lives unexpectedly intertwine with Grant and Fiona's. Kristen Thomson steals whole scenes from the principals as the head nurse at the institution where Fiona is placed; warm, supportive, nurturing and altogether wonderful, the nurse has one quick exchange in which she shows another side and another attitude - and this slight "glitch" makes the character even more real and sympathetic.

"Away from Her" is not a tragedy, it's a drama, which moves and uplifts. It includes charming and funny moments, but even the humor has depth. In one scene, as she is watching TV news from Iraq, Alzheimer's patient Fiona exclaims: "How could they forget Vietnam?!"


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