Thursday, February 01, 2007
so close and yet so far
we were privy to a special advance screening of 'away from her', an extraordinary story about a lifelong love affair. a lyrical screenplay adaptation of alice munro's novel "the bear came over the mountain", set in northern ontario,and directed by sarah polley who makes her debut, the beautiful and moving story is about a husband (grant) and his wife(fiona) deeply in love for nearly 50 years with seemingly unwavering committment to each other.the occasional references to their past skirmishes do come up now and then.
grant befriends kristy,a nurse who works in the caregiving home.through their conversations,some of grant's past comes to light .life is cyclical.there are highs and lows.even in marriage relationships there are ups and downs. fiona's failing memory is the trigger in the breakdown of their relationship and the old scars are again hurting.
tragedy strikes when fiona starts losing her memory.she insists that she should be admitted to a care institution.grant reluctantly agrees; little realising the shock that awaits him.the rules of the institution are such that for the first month after admission she should not be visited by anyone from the family.when he visits her after a month he realises that she has fallen in love with aubrey, a deaf and mute elderly person.he is in agony when she doesn't recognise him easily and talks to him disjointedly whereas she appears to be happy and comfortable in the company of her new friend to whom she bestows a lot of her attention and love. when aubrey is taken out of the care home,fiona is devastated and a deep depression gets triggered off. grant is now afraid of fiona's life and suggests to aubrey's wife marian that aubrey be sent back to the retirment home. grant sacrifices his wife for her sake and starts a new relationship with marian.
the role of alzheimer's in the film is a metaphor for what memory does in a long relationship.remember what you choose and forget what you don't want to choose.a deeply touching story of memory,forgetting,guilt and freedom,compassion,empathy and enduring love and devotion. produced by atom egoyan with gordon pinsent as grant and julie christie as fiora and michael murphy as the deaf and mute patient and olympia dukakis as the mute patient's wife,the story points out the personal havoc that can be caused when dementia and alzheimer's overtakes an individual. it is a heartwarming and a moving love story.
sarah polley does a fantastic job as a director.her international cast includes julie christie(fiona),gordon pinsent(grant),olympia dukakis(marian) and wendy crewson(kristie) .cinematography by luc montpellier is of a high order.