Customer Review

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Lovers to Strangers, 25 Feb 2008
This review is from: Away From Her [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
"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
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Feb 2010 15:36:51 GMT
Florence says:
"many lovely scenes ensue as the Alzheimer's progresses": oh yes? Here's someone who's never known anyone with Alzheimers then... Let's hope he never gets to find out about the terror, anxiety, agitation, incontinence, anger... and continues to think it is about soft focused lovely scenes where the worst symptom Julie Christie shows in the home is a garish taste in cardigans. Her hair never gets ruffled, I notice.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2014 02:53:13 GMT
Florence, I don't think the reviewer was suggesting this at all but refers to how moving and touching the scenes were.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2014 03:23:20 GMT
prisrob says:
Florence,
I am a Nurse Practitioner, I have cared for and help people and their familes manage chronic diseases. Some of them have Alzheimer's Disease. It sounds like you have experienced this first hand. I am sorry, and yes, you have misread the sentence. The lovely scenes were the interaction between Fiona and her husband. I know the agitation, the terror, the incontinence, the helplessness of the caregiver . Again, I am sorry and I will look to see if I can change those words, so no one else has the same misunderstanding.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2014 03:23:54 GMT
prisrob says:
Thank you, you are correct. I had not seen this comment until tonight.
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