Sight and Sound - 05/01/2007
"Sarah Polley's directorial feature debut is as considered and mature as her performances in films such as THE SWEET HEREAFTER, THE WEIGHT OF WATER and THE CLAIM....An intensely personal drama..."
New York Times - 05/04/2007
"[R]efreshingly direct....The film is by turns sharp and somber, alive to the lacerations of ordinary experience and quietly attentive to grand absurdities and small instances of grace."
Ultimate DVD - 07/06/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Beautifully judged and full of impressive moments....AWAY FROM HER is a quiet triumph."
Entertainment Weekly - 09/14/2007
"[D]irector Sarah Polley is the real star here....[She] has produced a remarkably sophisticated piece..." -- Grade: B+
USA Today - 09/14/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "[Christie is] spectacular, and possibly Oscar-bound as an Ontario Alzheimer's patient..."
Uncut - 11/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Sarah Polley has made an impressive, mature film, dealing with a painful subject with grace and conviction."
Total Film - 11/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "A lyrical, understated love story centered around an Oscar-caliber performance by Christie."
Canadian actress Sarah Polley makes an impressive directorial debut with AWAY FROM HER, a film adapted from the Alice Munro story "The Bear Came Over The Mountain." The plot concerns the way in which the 50-year marriage of Grant (Gordon Pinsent) and Fiona (Julie Christie) deteriorates with the progression of Fiona's Alzheimer's disease. Rich scenery, intimate cinematography, and familiar songs like Neil Young's "Helpless" create a private world of two people enviably in love. Fiona and Grant have carved out a piece of the world for themselves, and have lived together happily in their later years until Fiona's memory started to wane. The harmony in their lives is lost when Fiona decides she's reached the point of no return and enters a retirement home in order to take the burden off Grant, though he can think of nothing worse than being away from her. After dropping Fiona off, Grant is forced to not visit for 30 days, which, as he fears, ends up feeling much longer in the mind of a person who is losing her memory.
AWAY FROM HER features stunning performances from its leads as well as from Michael Murphy as Aubrey (a patient Fiona forms a close bond with), Olympia Dukakis as Aubrey's wife, and Kristen Thomson as a nurse at the facility. Instead of treating old age as the winding down of life, this film portrays it as a potentially rich, enjoyable period. Grant and Fiona never yearn for the days of their youth, but rather for the later years when their intimacy had reached a higher peak. While so many films portray older characters in a one-dimensional way, Polley's film portrays its characters as multifaceted people filled with wisdom and true beauty, thanks to their age and not in spite of it.