DRAMA; 1hr 50min
STARRING: Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent
Lost: Christie and Pinsen
“I think I may be beginning to disappear,” Fiona (Christie) laments at the beginning of the skilfully understated drama Away from Her. Fiona, who has Alzheimer’s disease, decides with her husband of 50 years (Pinsent as Grant) to admit herself to a residential facility. Visitors are forbidden for the first 30 days — a torment for Grant. And when he finally visits, Fiona appears not to know him, and has formed an attachment to another resident (Michael Murphy as mute, wheelchair-bound Aubrey).
Although just 28 years old, Canadian actress turned director Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter) has a discerning affinity with her subject and a practised way with actors: Christie, Pinsent and Olympia Dukakis as Aubrey’s spunky, lonely wife are all tremendous. Of course, this is a terribly sad tale (adapted by Polley from the 1999 Alice Munro short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”). Yet as an example of enduring love, and of the human capacity for gratitude and chance, it evolves with a cool and melancholy beauty.