Sarah Polley’s directorial debut was beautiful. Beautiful because of her penchance for contrasting the hope promised by huge endless expanses of land with the helplessness of the main characters, beautiful because of her powerful shots of retreating backs and her clever use of lights to create atmosphere and invoke feelings, and not least of all, beautiful because of Julie Christie’s stunning loveliness.
Julie Christie, at sixty-seven, possesses an ethereal, luminous beauty and is the best evidence against botox as well as living proof that great beauty can be found on a face etched with lines, with each and every line seemingly telling a story on its own. Away from her could have been hackneyed and literal, just as how Grant (Gordon Pinsent) likened Fiona (Christie)’s dementia to a house gradually switching off its lights, one after another. It could also have been one of those dreary films about geriatrics and Alzheimer’s Disease. The movie instead, was a poignant piece of work, beautifully lifted by its leads.
Grant and Fiona have been happily married for 44 years, and were so deeply in love, they have never spent more than a month apart. The blissful marriage however, was marred by Fiona’s gradually failing memory. Away from her captured the distress of having time to prepare for the eventual loss of a person whom you love so much, your entire world seems centered around her, only to realise that no amount of time is going to be enough for the precise moment of loss. The film also captured the anguish of realising, as another character noted, that the person you thought would be with you right to the end will forget and leave behind everything you have ever shared. Guilt and regret is a recurring theme as Grant struggles with his suspicions that Fiona was feigning dementia to punish him for his previous indiscretions.
Christie deserves her Oscar nod, her gorgeous, open face reflecting every nuance of her complicated emotions. Grant, in his grizzled warmth, was a man tortured by his past and the present, grappling with his wife’s rapidly deteriorating condition. Away from her is a subtle and graceful look at love, loss and old age.
And while we are still on the topic of love, the kids today were all giddy and giggly, floating on their love-infused air. Was kinda sweet and very amusing. I have nearly forgotten those days of nervous anticipation:p. On one hand, I am happy my kids are so happy. On the other hand, i am irritated because no one seems to be concentrating on my exciting delivery on how to ace the compre paper. Boys were fondling rose petals in mute fascination while the girls were busy folding pieces of paper they think i cannot see under their desks. One good thing came out of this lovey-dovey business- I received many little gifts: rose stalks, cards, chocolates and was also treated to an amazing magic show by one kiddo (He is so good, he does it professionally).
Despite saying he was not gonna gimme anything, he presented a little surprise in the form of home-made peanut balls coated with melted chocolate (think rocher hehe). His chocolate balls weren’t a pretty sight, but they did melt in the mouth and was reasonably palatable heee…I am suitably impressed. I can’t even bake cookies. Thank you=))