Away From Her (12A)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner13/02/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Superbly directed by actress-turned-writer-director Sarah Polley and featuring a deservedly Oscar-nominated performance by Julie Christie, this is a brilliantly written drama that packs a powerful emotional punch.

What's it all about?
Gordon Pinsent plays Grant, a pensioner who struggles to cope when his wife of 45 years (Julie Christie as Fiona) develops Alzheimer's. Eventually, Grant admits defeat and moves Fiona into a first-rate nursing home, but this brings its own problems when Fiona develops an emotional attachment to another patient (Michael Murphy) and appears to forget Grant completely.

The Good
Julie Christie gives a deservedly Oscar-nominated performance as Fiona and she's genuinely heart-breaking to watch, especially in the scenes where she doesn't remember her husband. Pinsent's performance is the less showy of the two, but he's equally good and there's indisputable chemistry between him and Christie.

As for the supporting roles, Michael Murphy is perfectly cast because he's an actor usually associated with dialogue-heavy parts, so it's disconcerting and strangely upsetting to have him reduced to near catatonia here. There's also strong support from both Wendy Crewson (as a member of staff) and Olympia Dukakis (who has been off our screens for far too long) as Murphy's wife, who Grant turns to for emotional support.

The Great
Actress-turned-writer-director Sarah Polley (who adapted Alice Munro's short story The Bear Came Over The Mountain) displays a strong visual sense that suits the story perfectly and Luc Montpelier's stunning camerawork makes effective use of the snowy landscapes and lakeside locations.

In addition, Polley's script is both intelligent and sensitive, refusing to indulge in sentimentality and never resorting to cliche, particularly in the depiction of the realities of the nursing home. As a result, the film is both emotionally complex and thoroughly engaging throughout.

Worth seeing?
In short, Away From Her is a wonderfully acted, brilliantly written and genuinely moving film that confirms Sarah Polley as a director to watch. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Away From Her (12A)
Away From Her has been reviewed by 1 users
image
01 Sabotage (tbc)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence H...

image
02 Paddington (tbc)

Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins

image
03 The Maze Runner (tbc)

Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter

image
04 Blue Ruin (tbc)

Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves

image
05 The Fault in all Our Stars (tbc)

Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe

Content updated: 16/04/2014 08:38

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

We Are the Best!

Delightful, uplifting Swedish comedy that marks a long-awaited return to form of the likes of Show Me Love and Together for writer-director Lukas Moodysson.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films