Away from Her (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  25 May 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 18,337 users   Metascore: 88/100
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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")
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 57 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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


Sometimes you have to let go of what you can't live without. 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?


Julie Christie turned the script down the first time it was sent to her. She would do this several times over the course of a year until Sarah Polley's determination wore her down. 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 »


Grant Anderson: [reading to Fiona from, "Letters From Iceland" by; W.H. Auden] Isn't it true however far we've wandered into our provinces of persecution, where our regrets accuse, we keep returning back to the common faith from which we've all dissented, back to the hands, the feet, the faces? Children are always there and take the hands, even when they are most terrified. Those in love cannot make up their minds to go or stay. Artist and doctor return most often. Only the mad will never, never come back. For ...
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
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User Reviews

Brilliant directorial debut!
13 May 2007 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Sarah Polley, still well under thirty, has taken one of my favourite Alice Monroe's stories and created magic with the script, casting and production of a remarkable and memorable film.

The effect is profound. You are watching actors at the peak of their craft, Julie Christie (playing Fiona Anderson), Gordon Pinsent (Grant Anderson) and Olympia Dukakis (Marian) and there is never a false move.

But beware, this is a movie for grown-ups and is reminiscent in some ways of "The Dead". Do we ever really know someone even though we have lived and breathed their air for over forty years? The tragedy and sometimes humour of Alzheimer's Disease is portrayed beautifully. The occasional lucid moments offering hope, only to be followed, often quickly, by the bafflement of the dementia.

But to focus solely on the still breathtakingly beautiful Julie and her brilliance in depicting a woman in the throes of the disease is to diminish the film as it is not only about that. It is about the secrets of the marriage, the incarceration of a loved one in a home, the despair and sometimes desperation of the spouse left operating in the outside 'real' world, the sometimes outrageous bondings of the inhabitants of the group home and the compromises reached by all.

There is much symbolism in the movie (the snow was particularly meaningful) and many wonderful, almost unnoticeable 'sidebits' - Olympia trying to pass off a store bought cookie as home-made for one - that bring this movie to wonderful heights. The attention to detail is amazing. I've visited these homes and this was real, down to the eccentric and often comically expletive-laden talk from the elderly inhabitants. Polley shows remarkable restraint in just allowing one of these eccentricities to run through the film when it might have been tempting to lay it on a little more thickly.

Though never sentimental and often humorous, the world through Grant's eyes is vividly portrayed and his anguish is palpable as he witnesses both the disintegration and re-invention of his beloved Fiona.

A heart-breaking, powerful and moving story brought beautifully to the screen. Bravo to all concerned. Oscar worthy.

38 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Ridiculous Rule in Care Facility waldenpond88
Ending.... go on, comment, it'll be fun bh64
What was the baggage in this couple's life? n3kas
This movie was NOT sad. snarkiness
Fiona crying? politiciandiva
How can he afford it? And goof comment. SueBee55
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