Away from Her

Sarah Polley is only 28, and Away from Her is her first feature film as writer or director. But she has worked with some good directors. Probably her biggest influence is Atom Egoyan, who she has worked with in both The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica.

Like those films, this film moves forwards and backwards in time, and it’s done with a confidence that belies the director’s lack of experience or age. Julie Christie plays Fiona, who is married to Grant (Gordon Pinsent, who did the voice of the goldfish in The Sparky Book, a nice little short that I saw at Cinequest before Out of Balance). The confusion of Fiona’s descent into Alzheimer’s is mirrored in the time shifts of the narrative.

It’s only a minor spoiler (or none at all if you’ve seen the trailer or read any other reviews) to know that Fiona ends up in an elder care facility. What happens after that, I won’t say, but it’s both sad and revealing. Christie and Pinsent both give Oscar® nomination-worthy performances, and the supporting performances and cinematography are also quite good.

Polley is a director to watch, and this is a film that is well worth seeking out.

I’ll give it 3.5 stars out of 4 stars.

Seen 6/11/2007. [That’s over a month ago, so yes, I know I’m way late in posting this.]

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