Away from Her – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

Sarah Polley

Cast

Gordon Pinsent ………. Grant
Julie Christie ………. Fiona
Olympia Dukakis ………. Marian
Deanna Dezmari ………. Veronica
Clare Coulter ………. Phoebe Hart
Thomas Hauff ………. William Hart
Alberta Watson ………. Dr. Fischer

The Movie

Grant (Gordon Pinsent) and Fiona (Julie Christie) are the type of loving couple in their 60s that seem ideal. They have a cottage and a nice life in retirement. The problem is that Fiona is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s; her memories and the personality of who she used to be are slowly disappearing into someone Grant doesn’t know. In Away from Her, based on a short story, Grant slowly learns how to let go of her as she slowly forgets who he is and who they were.

In a world where an elderly population is ravaged by diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the film is relatively timely due to its content alone. Seeing Grant deal with his wife as she slowly stops remembering who she was and into someone she is. It’s a haunting film which works because of its two leads.

Gordon Pinsent has a terrific character arc to work with as Grant, the husband whose wife has seemingly changed into another person. It’s a slow story for the character, and the movie in general, but Pinsent develops he character well over the film’s span. This is the tale of a man who’s coping with the loss of his wife into another person with her own life. As he goes from trying to maintain their relationship as he sees it to learning to live without the woman he spent his life with, it’s haunting to see how the character changes. It’s a man who has to ponder whether some of his earlier choices in life are coming back to haunt him with his wife’s disappearance into disease.

Julie Christie provides a rather unique performance as Grant’s wife Fiona. As she goes from being forgetful to in the thralls of a disease that does more harm to the family than it does to the individual, it’s depressing to see how radically she changes. From the film’s beginning to its finale, Fiona follows a character arc of disintegration that is not for the weak of heart.

Away from Her tugs at the heart strings, but at the same it’s an easy tug. Seniors with memory problems are a much more common occurrence with the longevity of the human life span. The subject matter is something that the majority of people watching the film would be able to go through with a parent, sibling or grandparent. It’s an easy subject to tug at the heart, which means the film doesn’t have to really try as hard if it were some other disease.

A/V QUALITY CONTROL

Away from Her is presented in a Dolby Digital format in a widescreen presentation, complete with 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the film looks and sounds quite good despite not needing a terrific presentation in either aspect. This is a dialogue-driven film that doesn’t have many extended landscape shots, nor does it have a big booming score, but it is good enough for what it needs to do.

The Extras

Not much to be found with this DVD. A Commentary track with Julie Christie, as well as some Deleted Scenes are included, plus Previews of other Lionsgate properties.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Away From Her
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

7.0
THE VIDEO

7.5
THE AUDIO

7.5
THE EXTRAS

2.0
REPLAY VALUE

5.5
OVERALL
6.0
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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