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Away from Her


Stars: Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent, Olympia Dukakis

Director: Sarah Polley

Sincere and well-intentioned, this drama about Alzheimer's Disease from debutante director Polley, better known as an actress, is, despite being well acted, notably by Christie (though her performance is hardly the equal in stature of fellow Oscar nominee Marion Cotillard, a deserved winner of the award for La Vie en Rose), also slow-paced and frequently boring.

Christie, still beautiful in her mid sixties, is the wife who has never quite forgiven teacher husband Pinsent for an affair with one of his students. She's suffering the early stages of Alzheimer's, and Pinsent decides to put her in a residential home, though it hardly seems bad enough for that.

Once there, she quickly forms an attachment wth a fairly far-gone patient (Michael Murphy in a wordless role) and seems to regard her husband as a slightly tiresome intruder.

He in turn strikes up a tentative relationship with Murphy's wife (Dukakis), partly in an attempt to persuade her to care for her husband at home (where, perhaps, he should be caring for his wife).

Measured performances just barely hold the interest here, but the breathtaking snowy landscapes help. It's absorbing as a study of this dreadful affliction, but barely registers as entertainment.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Technicolor.
110 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 10 Feb 2008