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Running Time:
1 hour, 30 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for some strong language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A heartbreaking, superbly acted and memorable character study.

Additional Info:
Fiona ... Julie Christie
Grant ... Gordon Pinsent
Marian ... Olympia Dukakis
Kristy ... Kristen Thomson
Aubrey ... Michael Murphy
Madeleine ... Wendy Crewson

DVD Features: Feature commentary with actress Julie Christie; Deleted scenes; Deleted scenes commentary with director Sarah Polley; 16x9 widescreen presentation; 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital audio; English and Spanish subtitles

Away From Her
Fiona (Julie Christie "Dr Zhivago") and Grant (Gordon Pinsent "The Good Shepherd") have been married for 45 years, and are trying to come to terms with the fact that Fiona is showing the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Her changing demeanor is difficult for Grant to accept, but he eventually lets her move into a nursing home near their rural lake house. At this first-rate facility Grant discovers that Fiona has developed an emotional attachment to another patient (Michael Murphy "Manhattan"). Grant must work through the ramifications with the medical staff (Wendy Crewson "Eight Below" and Kristen Thomson "I, Claudia"), as well as the man's wife (Olympia Dukakis "Moonstruck").

Julie Christie is amazing in the pivotal role, never taking the obvious approach to a scene and maintaining her character's inner light, even as it subtly changes. Her chemistry with Gordon Pinsent is palpable, especially in the scenes in which Fiona doesn't remember who Grant is, while he is the character that holds the film together. And Olympia Dukakis is lively and likeable as always.

Actress Sarah Polley ("The Sweet Hereafter"), is both the screenwriter and director of this superbly acted character study. Besides her elegant directing style, her script is intelligent, provocative, emotionally resonant and beautifully understated. Her images are poetic and striking, from the snowy landscapes to the subtly revealing faces of all the actors. Nothing about the film is contrived or forced. This unpretentious story digs deeply into human connections and motivations, while revealing the nature of unconditional love.

While the film sparks with personality and has moments that are sweet, sexy and funny, it's also profoundly heartbreaking. But Polley never allows it to become maudlin. Both the situations and the characters have an involving complexity as well as an earthy optimism. And in the end you will find a surprising resonance in the story, even if you've never been through any situation quite like this one.

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