Away From Her
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +2

Gordon Pinsent, Julie Christie. Drama. Written by Sarah Polley & Alice Munro. Directed by Sarah Polley.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Married for almost 50 years, Grants (Gordon Pinsent) and Fionas (Julie Christie) commitment to each other appears unwavering. Their daily life is filled with tenderness and humor; yet this serenity is broken by Fionas increasingly evident memory loss and her restrained references to a past betrayal. For a while, the couple is able to casually dismiss these unwelcome changes. But when neither Fiona nor her husband can deny any longer that she is being consumed by Alzheimers disease, the couple is forced to wrenchingly redefine the limits of their love and loyalty and face the complex, inevitable transition from lovers to strangers.

PREVIEW REVIEW: This nonlinear drama is a true love story. Devoid of histrionics or melodrama, the filmmakers tell their tale with an erudite tenderness seldom seen these days in movies. Alas, one thing is missing. The couple faces this menace without much regard for spiritual matters. At one point Fiona tells her husband, All we can hope for is grace. But no scene of faith is given and no example of turning to God for strength is shown. Is that too much to be expected from a film that deals with helplessness?

Despite this missing ingredient, the film is superbly acted (besides the two leads, Olympia Dukakis is mesmerizing and Kristen Thomson is wise and touching as a caring nurse). Married for 44 years, the husband makes an incredible sacrifice, revealing an uncompromising love for his wife. It is a remarkable example of devotion for a lifelong mate.

Id like to add a personal note, if I may, concerning the dementia of Alzheimers disease. My grandma died when she was 105. She had many children and spent a life following Christs teaching to love others. At the end, she didnt recognize her own children. But, despite the loss of memory, somehow she still knew Jesus. She kept praying and singing hymns. That says something about our faith, doesnt it? It goes beyond a Norman Vincent Peale positive thinking philosophy. If a woman cant remember her own children, but her spirit is still in tune with her Lord and Savior, then there must truly be something that links us spiritually to the Creator.

Away From Her is a wonderful film, but allow me to suggest a DVD Alternative: A Vow To Cherish. Though not in the league artistically with this new release, the World Wide Pictures release from several years back also pointedly examines the effect of Alzheimer's disease upon a family. It presents three-dimensional people who find fulfillment and strength through Christ.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Lionsgate

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Three f-words.
Profanity: None
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: The story reveals an adulterous affair from the past. This is not seen and the husband has repented. Later in the film, he sleeps with another woman, both seeking comfort as they deal with their own mates not recognizing them. These scenes are really aftermaths, with no sexual explicitness.
Nudity: One brief shot of a woman from the back.
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Two character (one young, one old) smoke. Some wine drinking with dinner.
Other: None
Running Time: 110 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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