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Away from Her (2006) - Plot Summary Poster

(2006)

Plot

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Summaries

  • 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 visit Fiona, Grant ultimately makes a request of Marian Barque, the wife of one of the other patients, a semi-comatose Aubrey Barque, with whom Fiona has struck a friendship and who is now at home permanently with Marian. The request is to see to both Fiona and his own happiness in this unfortunate situation.

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  • Fiona and Grant are an Ontario couple who have been married for over 40 years. Now, in the oncoming twilight of their years, they are forced to face the fact that Fiona's "forgetfulness" actually is Alzheimer's Disease. After Fiona wanders away and is found after being lost, they agree she must go into a nursing home. For the first time in the five decades their relationship has spanned, they are forced to undergo a long-time separation since the nursing home has a "no-visitors" policy for the first 30 days of a patient's stay, so they can adjust to their new surroundings. When Grant visits Fiona after the orientation period, he is devastated to find out that not only has she seemingly forgotten him, Fiona has transferred her affections to another man. The other man is Aubrey, a wheelchair bound mute patient at the nursing home. As the distance between husband and wife grows, Grant must draw upon his love for Fiona to perform an act of self-sacrifice in order to ensure her happiness.

  • 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.


Spoilers

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Synopsis

  • Grant (Pinsent) and Fiona (Christie) are a retired married couple living in rural Brant County, Ontario. Fiona begins to lose her memory, and it becomes apparent she suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Throughout the film, Grant's reflections on his marriage are woven with his reflections on his own infidelities, and influence his eventual decisions regarding Fiona's happiness.

    When she feels she is becoming a risk to herself, Fiona decides to check into a nursing home, where one of the rules is that a patient can not have any visitors for the first 30 days, in order to "adjust". Wary of this policy, Grant agrees anyway, at the insistence of his wife whom he loves. During the drive to the facility, Fiona acknowledges Grant's past infidelity while he was a university professor. Despite the awkward situation, the couple makes love one last time before separating.

    When the 30 day period ends, Grant goes to visit his wife again, only to find she has forgotten him, and turned her affections to Aubrey (Murphy), a mute man in a wheelchair who has become her "coping partner" in the facility.

    While seeing his wife grow closer to Aubrey, Grant becomes an unhappy voyeur when visiting his wife at the nursing home. As time goes by and Fiona still does not remember him, Grant even wonders whether Fiona's dementia is an act meant to punish him for his past indiscretions. After some time, Aubrey's wife removes him from the home due to financial difficulties. This causes Fiona to sink into a deep depression, with her physical wellbeing also appearing to deteriorate. Grant is touched by this, and visits Aubreys wife Marian (Dukakis) in an effort to allow Fiona to see Aubrey again. He would rather see his wife happy with another man than miserable and alone. Marian initially refuses, but the meeting leads to a tentative relationship between her and Grant.

    As time passes, Grant continues to visit both Fiona and Marian. He eventually moves out of his home and succeeds in taking Aubrey back to visit his wife. But in his "moment alone" before he brings Aubrey into Fiona's room, Fiona temporarily remembers him and the love she has for him. The film closes on their embrace.

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