One would never expect preternaturally serious indie princess Sarah Polley to make a guns-and-thinly disguised autobiographical details-style directorial debut, but "Away From Her" is so grown-up it is, thematically, approaching death. Adapted from a short story by Alice Munroe, the film is a slightly cool to the touch portrait of a 50-year marriage being unraveled by Alzheimer’s â€” not as grim as it sounds. Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent play Fiona and Grant, a couple who have shared a less than perfect marriage but who have reached a stage where all past grievances would have been smoothed over and buried by time, were Fiona’s failing memories not resurrecting them. Christie, who has managed to turn a uniform shade of luminous winter white that only enhances her eyes, turns out a lovely performance as a woman whose ties to the life she lived are falling away. It’s an admirable film, but not one we particularly liked. Polley’s direction and dialogue adaptations are so self-consciously lyrical that they constantly throw you out of the film, so the fact that the story takes unexpected turns is more of a clinical observation than a recommendation.
Lionsgate will release "Away From Her" on May 4th.
+ "Away From Her" (Sundance)