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Away from Her (2006) is a sensitive portrayal of aging, relationships and change, focusing on the effects of Alzheimer ’s disease on a Canadian husband and wife. Julie Christie plays Fiona Anderson, a once-vibrant woman slowly losing her memory to early Alzheimer’s disease. Her husband Grant (Gordon Pinsent) mourns the gradual loss of his wife of 44 years and struggles with adjusting to their fading relationship.

At first, the couple tries to handle her illness at home, writing notes and labeling drawers, but when those techniques stop working, Fiona decides that it’s time for her to enter Meadowlake, a nursing home.

“Once the idea is gone, everything is gone,” she muses. “I think I might be disappearing.”

After Fiona enters the nursing home, the staff tells Grant that, to help her adjust to her new environment, he may not visit her for 30 days. When he visits her a month later, she doesn’t seem to know him, speaking formally as if to a kindly visitor. Grant discovers that Fiona has become attached to Aubrey (Michael Murphy), a mute man in a wheelchair. Grant is hurt and confused, wondering if Fiona is trying to punish him for his past infidelities with younger women. With the help of Aubrey’s wife Marian (Olympia Dukakis) and head nurse Kristy (Kristen Thomson), Grant begins to realize that he must let go of the past and accept the realities of Fiona’s condition.

The film is based on The Bear Came over the Mountain, a story by renowned author Alice Munro. Away from Her is not only about Alzheimer’s. Its themes of love, loss and memories are universal.

| 2006 | 1 hr 50 min | 7.5/10 | 88/100
Gordon Pinsent, Stacey LaBerge, Julie Christie, Olympia Dukakis
Sarah Polley
Produced By
Daniel Iron, Simone Urdl, Jennifer Weiss

Also directed by Sarah Polley

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