Movie review: “Away from her”

The perfect movie if you and your beloved are both in a slightly gooshy-sentimental mood. To the accompaniment of rain pattering on the roof and streaming down the windows, light a fire or at least a couple of candles, make a pot of steaming-hot soup with dunkable toast, add an exceedingly snuggly cat to keep your feet warm… and snuggle up nice and cosy under a warm blanket.

Away from her is the story of Grant (Gordon Pinsent) and Fiona (Julie Christie), a retired married couple living somewhere in rural Canada. When Fiona starts forgetting things, a doctor confirms that she is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and suggests that she move into a nearby nursing home if the disease progresses too far. Her husband Grant is incredibly patient and very loving towards her, and despite his quiet strength you can feel that the possibility of losing his wife is weighing heavily on his heart. After a while, it becomes clear that Fiona needs to be hospitalised, and she is admitted to the nursing home.

The home has a rule that for the first 30 days new patients are not allowed any visitors from outside, apparently so that they can settle into their new routine more quickly. Grant is deeply affected by this rule, and only gives in on the insistence of Fiona. After the 30 day period, he arrives at the nursing home. Much to his horror, he finds that Fiona has forgotten who he is; instead, she has found comfort in the support of Aubrey, who is wheelchair-bound and unable to speak. Grant is devastated, but continues to visit her every day, spending hours quietly watching Fiona and Aubrey’s interactions with each other and with the other residents of the nursing home.

It was a very sad, wistful movie. Somewhat slow-moving, but beautiful.

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Other movies we’ve watched in June: 

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