7.5/10
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126 user 176 critic

Away from Her (2006)

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

Director:

Sarah Polley

Writers:

Sarah Polley, Alice Munro (short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain")
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 62 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gordon Pinsent ... Grant Anderson
Stacey LaBerge Stacey LaBerge ... Young Fiona
Julie Christie ... Fiona Anderson
Olympia Dukakis ... Marian
Deanna Dezmari Deanna Dezmari ... Veronica
Clare Coulter ... Phoebe Hart
Thomas Hauff ... William Hart
Alberta Watson ... Dr. Fischer
Grace Lynn Kung ... Nurse Betty
Lili Francks Lili Francks ... Theresa
Andrew Moodie ... Liam
Wendy Crewson ... Madeleine Montpellier
Judy Sinclair Judy Sinclair ... Mrs. Albright
Tom Harvey Tom Harvey ... Michael
Carolyn Hetherington 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:

The ultimate love story See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 May 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lejos de ella See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$114,628, 6 May 2007

Gross USA:

$4,571,521

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,194,283
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Fiona: I think all we can aspire to in this situation is a little bit of grace.
See more »


Soundtracks

Helpless
Performed by k.d. lang
Written by Neil Young
Published by Broken Arrow Music (BMI)
Licensed courtesy of Warner Music Canada
Used by permission
All rights reserved
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User Reviews

 
AWAY FROM HER (Sarah Polley, 2006) ***
23 February 2008 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I'm not usually one to watch films dealing with diseases of any type – believing them to be maudlin, manipulative and even somewhat morbid – much less mental illness, but since this is expected to earn Julie Christie another Oscar (which would probably make it the longest gap between the first and second win), I decided to check it out in time for the upcoming awards ceremony.

Christie's character has been struck with the debilitating Alzheimer's Disease but, thankfully, she – or, more precisely, writer-director Polley (a likable actress in her own right, though not appearing here herself) – doesn't bemoan her fate; rather, she accepts it with grace and even treats the condition with mild humor (which is the way these things should be approached but, I guess, one has to really be going through them himself to really know). Incidentally, I find extremely silly and unwarranted the recent warning by some hysterical group when, in her acceptance speech at the SAG awards, Christie joked that if she forgot the name of anyone it's because she was still in character!

The film is undeniably moving as we see the aging heroine degenerating to the point that she can't even recognize her own devoted husband (Gordon Pinsent) and even attaches herself to a fellow patient (Michael Murphy) at the clinic to which she's eventually admitted. Ironically, considering the accolades showered upon Christie, I feel that it's Pinsent who's the real protagonist here: quietly despairing yet brave in coping with the heartbreaking situation (unsurprisingly, he strikes up a friendship with Murphy's own wife – played by Olympia Dukakis). On the other hand, the viewpoint of the younger generation (obligatory in our zealously-PC world) is present here – though in a somewhat idealistic manner, if you ask me – via a teenager who chats with Pinsent during one of his visits to the clinic (and, in a deleted sequence, is revealed to be a neighbor of Dukakis and occasionally takes care of Murphy for her).

Actually, this isn't the kind of film one would expect an emerging young director to make – particularly since it has aspirations of being a Bergman-like chamber drama which, while fairly compelling and austere (aided with respect to the latter by the snowy Canadian setting), clearly lacks the necessary depth which a master craftsman would otherwise bring to such material.


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