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Genre: Drama
Starring: Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent, Olympia Dukakis, Kristen Thomson, Michael Murphy
Director: Sarah Polley
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2006







Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time: 1 hr 50 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Origin Entertainment
Official Website:




Married for almost 50 years, Grant and Fiona's commitment to each other appears unwavering. Their daily life is filled with tenderness and humor; yet this serenity is broken by Fiona's increasingly evident memory loss and her restrained references to a past betrayal. For a while, the couple is able to causally dismiss these unwelcome changes. But when neither Fiona nor her husband can deny any longer that she is being consumed by Alzheimer's disease, the couple is forced to wrenchingly redefine the limits of their love and loyalty and face the complex, inevitable transition from lovers to strangers.


Away From Her is a love story. And like love in real life, it is at times heart-warming, at times heartbreaking.

Drawing inspiration from Alice Munro’s short story “The Bear Came Over The Mountain”, writer-director Sarah Polley paints a sensitive and heartfelt picture of a couple 40 years into their marriage whose love will be tested by Alzheimer’s.
Better known as the Canadian actress of “The Sweet Hereafter” and “My Life Without Me”, the 27-year old Polley deserves much praise for this gem of a movie. Deftly choosing to tell the story with simplicity, Polley opens the movie with Fiona’s realization that she is losing her memory.

“I think I’m beginning to disappear,” Fiona observes. In these few words, Polley captures so vividly the helplessness of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s. But Fiona is not one to wallow in sadness. Instead, she makes the decision that she and her husband Grant have been deliberating over, and checks herself into a nearby nursing home.

But Away From Her is not just about the trials of an Alzheimer-suffering patient; it is also about the ups of downs of the caregiver, seen through the eyes of Grant. Struggling to help Fiona remember the love and the memories they have together, Grant faces an even greater challenge 30 days after their forced separation when he sees her growing affectionate with another patient, Aubrey, at the nursing home.

Is this a result of her illness? Or is this her way of getting back at him for his past transgression? Grant can only guess; and so do we. As like any spouse, Grant feels jealous. Instead of bursting out his feelings, director Polley eschews the histrionics to lend the character Grant dignity. So Grant watches from a distance, and even though his hurt is palpable, it is his love for Fiona that gives him the strength to do an ultimate act of self-sacrifice.

Polley is aided most capably by Julie Christie’s amazing performance. Indeed, her portrayal of an Alzheimer’s patient is real and sincere, and certainly deserving of the best actress Academy Award nomination she received earlier this year. Gordon Pinsent also deserves much praise as the steadfast husband Grant. Most prominently, Pinsent conveys Grant’s sense of despair so palpably when the camera trains its eyes on Grant as he watches Fiona’s affection for Aubrey.

Yet Away From Her’s greatest revelation is truly its writer-director Polley. Alzheimer’s is no easy material to show on screen, but Polley has used it as subject for a story that captures much about the frailties of old age, as it does of the beauty of love. Every character in Away From Her is nicely fleshed out, from Fiona to Grant to Aubrey and his wife to the nurses exposed to the day to day afflictions of their patients. This coming from a director as young as Polley is indeed remarkable and I’m eagerly looking forward to what she will do next.


None. This is a bare bones DVD release with only the film.


Film is presented in anamorphic widescreen as its theatrical format. Visual transfer is good. Subtitles are available in English and Chinese.



Review by Gabriel Chong


. Away From Her (Movie Review)

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This review is made possible with the kind support from Origin Entertainment


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