"Don't worry, I'm just losing my mind" she quips when he catches her absently putting a frying pan in the freezer. But it's not a joke: Fiona has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's." Dennis Harvey
Fiona, Julie Christie, is in the midst of Alzheimer's. She is having symptoms and when she becomes lost in the cold she makes the decision to enter a facility for care. Fiona and her husband, Grant, a retired professor, played by Gordon Pinsent , live on a lake in Ontario and have been married for over 40 years. Loving, fulfilled years and they seem the happy, retired couple. This movie is so well played that we enter into the mindset of both Fiona and Grant and have a glimpse of what their lives might be like. First from the person involved with Alzheimer's and then from the partner's perspective. Julie Christie, one of the most beautiful of actresses, remains as lovely and serene as ever. As Fiona she plays this part with extreme serenity and intelligence. Gordon Pinsent, her husband Grant, is a charismatic man and his part is played with subtlety and perfection. Kristen Thomson, the lead nurse at the facility is wonderful with her compassion, knowledge and insight.
At an early point in their marriage, Grant had affairs with his younger students and even though Fiona stayed there seems to be an unspoken anger within her. At times you wonder if some of her symptoms and behavior are not exaggerated by her anger. At the facility, Fiona becomes involved in the daily life of a man, Aubrey, and seems at times to have forgotten who Grant is. The issue of finding another soul to hang onto when you are going down this path of the unknown seems to me to be a human need. And, as Fiona says to Grant, "Aubrey does not confuse me". Many lovely scenes ensue as the Alzheimer's progresses and Grant visits daily and sits and watches his wife slowly slipping away. Grant does become involved with life again but in his mind Fiona comes first. The life of partners when one has Alzheimer's should be viewed by all.
"In a refreshingly direct, unassuming manner, "Away From Her" considers two great human mysteries: the persistence of love and the workings of the brain. It takes the twilight of a long, mostly happy marriage as a vantage point from which to look back at youth and forward into the waiting darkness. I can't remember the last time the movies yielded up a love story so painful, so tender and so true." A. O Scott
Highly, highly Recommended. prisrob 02-09-08