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 Foxcatcher (tbc)

Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo

image
02 The Drop (15)

Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthia...

image
03 Wild (15)

Reese Witherspoon, Gaby Hoffmann, Laura Dern

image
04 The Babadook (tbc)

Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Tiffany Lyndall-Knig...

image
05 The Riot Club (tbc)

Jessica Brown Findlay, Natalie Dormer, Sam Claflin...

Content updated: 21/09/2014 09:04

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

20,000 Days on Earth

Nick Cave and a whole host of his various celebrity friends and colleagues come together in this mock biopic documentary style film, presented as only Mr Cave can.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films