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Away from Her
Lions Gate Films
MPAA RATING: Not Rated
Wendy Crewson, Alberta Watson,
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)
Alice Munro (short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain)
| RELEASE DATE:
DVD: September 11, 2007
Theatrical: May 4, 2007
||110 minutes, Color
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...
One of the most remarkable and moving love stories the movies have recently given us.
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.
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.
San Francisco Chronicle
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.
The New Republic
Extraordinary--delicate, seriously disturbing, and lovely.
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.
The New Yorker
The movie, Polley's feature début, is a small-scale triumph that could herald a great career.
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.
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.
Los Angeles Times
Poignant, wise and unafraid -- just the sort of film for a young person, or any person, for that matter, to make.
The New York Times
I can't remember the last time the movies yielded up a love story so painful, so tender and so true.
A phantom of a movie whose beautiful flakes fall into the deep crevices of memory long after the seasons change.
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.
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.
A heartbreaking elegy to mature love that honors the lovers and the long, neurodegenerative tango that is their last.
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.
A sad and sometimes funny tale of Alzheimer's, love and loss.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
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.
New York Post
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.
New York Daily News
Even those who've long noted Polley's intelligence on screen will be amazed by the perception she displays as a filmmaker.
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.
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.
Christian Science Monitor
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.
The Onion (A.V. Club)
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.
There's nothing messy or unkempt about the beautifully, quietly heartbreaking story of unconditional love and emotional sacrifice.
A quiet, heartfelt story of love and loss.
Wall Street Journal
A feature film that's often astringent on the surface, yet deeply and memorably stirring.
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.
The Hollywood Reporter
The pain of watching a spouse succumb to Alzheimer's is given a particularly deep and sensitive treatment in Away From Her.
What Away From Her achieves is quite admirable-- a low-key, intelligent setting for performances marked by those same qualities.
Julie Christie gives a fabulous performance of mysterious, unclear depth as Fiona.
New York Magazine
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.
Munro's stark lily needed none of this gilding.
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.
A tender movie about a poignant and difficult subject.
It's Sarah Polley through and through: slightly too glum for its own good, but reeking of quality and feeling.
The average user rating for this movie is 8.0 (out of 10) based on 53 User Votes
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