Away From Her Movie Review
Julie Christie is poised for an Oscar with Away from Her, a touching little drama about Alzheimer's Disease. While she essentially plays a supporting character, she already has a Golden Globe for Best Actress and is likely to gain an even more prestigious golden statue soon enough. Gordon Pinset also turns in a great performance as Christie's husband.
Away from Her is like the The Notebook, only without the flashbacks to an age of youth and romance. Instead, the movie takes a look at a late middle-aged married couple that has to come to grips with the fact that they are about to be torn apart by something that is out of their control. While Fiona seems to accept her fate, her husband, Grant, has a much harder time. Fiona has no choice as her memories start to betray her, but Grant watches the love of his life degrade to a point where she no longer recalls who he is or why he keeps coming to see her.
The movie is simple yet heartbreaking, a story that is all too real and all too possible. That being said, Away from Her isn't going to win any awards on its own, and in a year's time it is unlikely anyone but Christie will remember the film exists. It is good, but as soon as the film is done you realize it has left no lasting marks upon you. Still, Away from Her is a great step forward for director Sarah Polley; I'm excited to see what she delivers next.
That being said, Christie and Pinset turn in very good performances. Christie is perfectly solid and clearly put a lot of effort and research into creating a character that so wonderfully captures the essence of what it means to have Alzheimer's. The character seems natural, and that's why critics are giving her high praise. An Oscar-worthy performance? I don't know. She's good, but I have a problem giving a lead actress award to someone who is not the main character. Keeping that in mind, Pinset, who gets a lot more screen time than Christie, is equally good; while he won't win any awards (the men's field is almost always more competitive), he balances out Christie with a somber, shattered performance.
Away from Her is a sweet yet sad tale that will largely appeal to women. Good performances and a simplistic tale of love and loss make this movie worth the time, though in the scheme of things, it isn't extremely memorable.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.