“Away From Her” is the lyrical screenplay adaptation of celebrated author Alice Munro’s short story, “The Bear Came Over The Mountain,” a beautiful yet unconventional story of a couple coming to grips with the onset of memory loss. Beloved by critics and audiences alike when it premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, the film marks the arrival of an exciting new filmmaker in Canadian actress Sarah Polley, who makes her feature screenwriting and directorial debut.
In the movie “Away From Her,” married for almost 50 years, Grant’s (Gordon Pinsent) and Fiona’s (Julie Christie) commitment to each other appears unwavering. Their daily life is filled with tenderness and humor; yet this serenity is broken by Fiona’s 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 Alzheimer’s 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. “Away From Her” also stars Olympia Dukakis, Kristen Thomson, with Michael Murphy and Alberta Watson. “Away From Her” is a love story about memory and devotion. The Andersson’s have remained committed to each other for fifty years, but now their marital tranquility is disrupted by Fiona’s failing memory at the hands of Alzheimer’s Disease. While Grant chooses to deny Fiona’s gradual deterioration, it soon becomes impossible to ignore. Fiona first looses hold of recent memories – largely a good time in the Andersson’s marriage – and plunges back into the trauma of the past, resurrecting old emotions that both Fiona and Grant would rather forget – “Away From Her.”