It’s unsurprising that the serious-minded actress Sarah Polley should make her writing and directorial debut with a modest, tasteful and intelligent character study. That the 28-year-old should choose to focus on the sacrifice and love needed in a septuagenarian marriage fragmented by Alzheimers is more curious. A slow-burner that plays like The Notebook filmed by Atom Egoyan (Polley was clearly taking notes during The Sweet Hereafter), Away From Her follows retiree Grant (Gordon Pinsent) as he comes to terms with losing his vivacious wife Fiona (Julie Christie) – first to a care home, then to memory loss and finally to another man.
Given a steady pulse by its stars, this cautionary tale of making the most of life during our winter months successfully lodges itself into the memory. But be warned: the glacial pacing and overlong running time also drums the worthy tone into your backside.