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Away from Her
Lions Gate Films

Away from Her reviews
Critic Score
Metascore: 88 Metascore out of 100
User Score  
8.0 out of 10
based on 36 reviews
Read critic reviews
How did we calculate this?
based on 53 votes
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Starring Julie Christie, Michael Murphy, Gordon Pinsent, Olympia Dukakis, Kristen Thomson, Wendy Crewson, Alberta Watson, Thomas Hauff, and Katie Boland

This beautiful yet unconventional story of a couple coming to grips with the onset of memory loss is adapted from celebrated author Alice Munro's short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain." (Lionsgate)

GENRE(S): Drama  |  Romance  
WRITTEN BY: Sarah Polley
Alice Munro (short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain)
DIRECTED BY: Sarah Polley  
RELEASE DATE: DVD: September 11, 2007 
Theatrical: May 4, 2007 
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes, Color 
ORIGIN: Canada 

What The Critics Said

All critic scores are converted to a 100-point scale. If a critic does not indicate a score, we assign a score based on the general impression given by the text of the review. Learn more...

Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington
One of the most remarkable and moving love stories the movies have recently given us.
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Washington Post Ann Hornaday
Rarely has love at any age been depicted so honestly on screen. For such a fully realized portrait to be created by a 28-year-old first-time director is even more remarkable.
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Chicago Reader J.R. Jones
For a movie about the importance of memory, Away From Her is appropriately sophisticated in its treatment of time. Polley has broken the chronological story into three sections of unequal length and woven them together, approximating our own mercurial journeys through the past.
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San Francisco Chronicle Ruthe Stein
To say it is about a debilitating disease is as reductive as saying "Little Miss Sunshine" is about a beauty pageant. Both are intimate stories of family ties that bind but sometimes also choke.
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The New Republic Stanley Kauffmann
Extraordinary--delicate, seriously disturbing, and lovely.
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Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert
Anyone who could read Munro’s original story and think they could make a film of it, and then make a great film, deserves a certain awe.
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The New Yorker David Denby
The movie, Polley's feature début, is a small-scale triumph that could herald a great career.
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Newsweek David Ansen
For anyone who grew up worshiping at the shrine of Julie Christie, the notion that she could be playing a white-haired woman drifting into senility is a jolt to the system. But her radiance, beauty and talent are undiminished: she's hauntingly, heartbreakingly good.
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Village Voice Ella Taylor
It's a precociously assured and mature work, at once humble and bold, that keeps faith with Munro's precise, graceful prose while tailoring its linear progression into shapely cinematic form.
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Los Angeles Times Carina Chocano
Poignant, wise and unafraid -- just the sort of film for a young person, or any person, for that matter, to make.
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The New York Times A.O. Scott
I can't remember the last time the movies yielded up a love story so painful, so tender and so true.
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Austin Chronicle Marjorie Baumgarten
A phantom of a movie whose beautiful flakes fall into the deep crevices of memory long after the seasons change.
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Boston Globe Ty Burr
With a tranquil fearlessness, it goes beyond the death of memory, to see what might be found in the unexplored country beyond. The answer is both frightening and comforting: More love. Unspecified love. Universal love.
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Miami Herald Rene Rodriguez
As this intimate, beautifully observed film unfolds, you realize that the story's themes -- the nature of love, the role of sex in relationships and the ways in which we learn to make peace with our guilty consciences -- are relevant no matter what age you happen to be.
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Philadelphia Inquirer Carrie Rickey
A heartbreaking elegy to mature love that honors the lovers and the long, neurodegenerative tango that is their last.
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Charlotte Observer Lawrence Toppman
A director needs to know how to pace the tale, where to place the camera, how to draw out a shy actor or get out of the way of a strong one. Those skills are rarer than you'd think. Sarah Polley, who never wrote or directed a feature film before Away From Her, has them all.
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TV Guide Ken Fox
A sad and sometimes funny tale of Alzheimer's, love and loss.
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The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Liam Lacey
A film rich in paradoxes. Much of the film's style is dreamy, from the snow-covered Ontario landscapes suggestive of a blanket of forgetfulness, to Julie Christie's pale, intoxicating beauty, to the ambient musical score.
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New York Post Lou Lumenick
Julie Christie is simply astounding as a woman slipping into the ravages of Alzheimer's in Sarah Polley's deeply affecting and artfully crafted Away From Her.
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New York Daily News Elizabeth Weitzman
Even those who've long noted Polley's intelligence on screen will be amazed by the perception she displays as a filmmaker.
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USA Today Claudia Puig
Does the finest job of any film in painting a believable portrait of aging, capturing the sadness, confusion, anxiety and defiance of the early stages of dementia.
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Rolling Stone Peter Travers
All the acting is first-rate -- Dukakis gives major dimensions to a supporting role. And Christie, a Sixties screen goddess in "Darling" and "Doctor Zhivago," shows that her spirit and grace are eternal. She's a beauty. So is the movie.
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Christian Science Monitor Peter Rainer
Given the subject, the movie is too romanticized, and Christie's eyes remain too sharp here to convincingly convey someone whose memory is fast slipping away. Much of it is powerful anyway.
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The Onion (A.V. Club) Tasha Robinson
Has its heartbreaking moments and its surprise giggles, particularly thanks to Ron Hewat's minor role as a former hockey play-by-play announcer now narrating his nursing-home life.
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Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sean Axmaker
There's nothing messy or unkempt about the beautifully, quietly heartbreaking story of unconditional love and emotional sacrifice.
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Baltimore Sun Chris Kaltenbach
A quiet, heartfelt story of love and loss.
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Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern
A feature film that's often astringent on the surface, yet deeply and memorably stirring.
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80 Andrew O'Hehir
Polley captures the brisk, cheerful fascism of nursing-home existence with merciless clarity; if you've visited a parent or grandparent in one of those places, you may want to laugh and cry in the same moment.
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The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore
The pain of watching a spouse succumb to Alzheimer's is given a particularly deep and sensitive treatment in Away From Her.
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Variety Dennis Harvey
What Away From Her achieves is quite admirable-- a low-key, intelligent setting for performances marked by those same qualities.
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Film Threat Jeremy Mathews
Julie Christie gives a fabulous performance of mysterious, unclear depth as Fiona.
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New York Magazine David Edelstein
Away From Her is a twilight-of-life love story, one that harshly demolishes our romantic notions of love and loyalty, then replaces them with something deeper and, finally, more consoling.
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Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum
Munro's stark lily needed none of this gilding.
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Portland Oregonian Shawn Levy
The actors are all perfect and yet not. Christie, most obviously, is simply too gorgeous, even when she's meant to be rattled and lost; Pinsent is too credibly stolid; Dukakis never vanquishes an impression of sourness. These may be quibbles, but they add up.
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ReelViews James Berardinelli
A tender movie about a poignant and difficult subject.
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Empire Olly Richards
It's Sarah Polley through and through: slightly too glum for its own good, but reeking of quality and feeling.
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What Our Users Said

Vote Now!The average user rating for this movie is 8.0 (out of 10) based on 53 User Votes
Note: User votes are NOT included in the Metascore calculation.

Tony B. gave it a6:
Very well acted, directed and photographed, it is still somewhat of a disappointment. The pace is languid, and the ending unsatisfactory.

Barbara P. gave it a10:
Moving, heartbreaking and very very romantic in the best send of the word. Oh yes, and unabashedly Canadian. Bravo to Sarah Polley for a superb directorial debut, and to uniformly excellent cast.

[Anonymous] gave it a7:
Beautifully acted by Julie Christy but some elements of the story seemed formulaic and unreal.l

Joe C. gave it a9:
Poignant and moving, this movie has it all, great performaces, terrific directiong, and a beautiful story. It really captures the realities of loving who suffers from dementia. Both Pinsent and Christy do a terrific job with Pinsent giving the movie its heart and Christy stealing the show and the heart of the audience as she "disappears" as she puts it. It's heartbreaking stuff and Poley does a fantastic job with a tough script, she's someone to lookout for in the future.

Diana M gave it a4:
there are moments of transcendence here (the two most memorable being the aerial shot of christie in the snow field, and the use of neil young's "harvest moon"), but without any believable timetable, the whole thing turns supermaudlin, confusing, and frankly, tedious. i kept waiting and waiting for fiona to say it'd all been just a well-acted hoax, that her rapid memory loss was aimed either to make grant move on with his life, or to finally punish him for that buried-but-not-forgotten-and-thus-not-buried-deep-enough indiscretion he made with a college student in the 70s. and speaking of which.... ????!!? those flashbacks are shady. at one point i actually thought the girl would rise from the past--or from the dead--a la "what lies beneath." i could name a number of other "huhs?", if asked. maybe there wasn't enough time to show fiona's brain slowly unhinge and let the flood wash away grant's love. but one month?? one month in which she learns new things, suffers no fears, no violent outbursts, but loses every morsel of her life before??!! i will admit christie is exquisite. i could stop wishing i'll be half so earthy when/if i get old. olympia dukakis is hilarious, as always, though i don't think she was trying to be. oh, but i do love watching her mask break. polley shouldn't have been so verbatim in her translation from the short story. she needed either to expound on grant's affair, or do away with it completely. faboo camera work, however. all four points for that.

John P gave it a10:
Brilliant performances by Julie Christie, Gordon Pinset,Olympia Dukakis and the supporting cast. Sarah Polley creates a quiet masterpiece.

Michael L. gave it a10:
I haven't cried at the movies in a long while. This poignant gem brought the tears--and not through manipulation, but through quiet beauty and intense reality. Such a fine, understated film--the "Brokeback Mountain" of 2007. Those seeking histrionics had best avoid Polley's touching masterpiece. There's no anger, no broken glass, no temper tantrums--just a profound sadness, an urgent sense of loss, and a reflection of missed opportunities. A true ode to the realities of true love--not the Hollywood version of it. And Julie Christie, character lines intact, is lovelier than any botoxed startlet--she is luminous. A wonderous perfromance. Olympia Dukakis is stirringly real. Polley has a phenomenal career ahead of her. She has always shunned Hollywood claptrap, and here's proof she will continue to do so. Bravo.

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