Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. One of the most remarkable and moving love stories the movies have recently given us.
  2. 100
    Rarely has love at any age been depicted so honestly on screen. For such a fully realized portrait to be created by a 28-year-old first-time director is even more remarkable.
  3. 100
    For a movie about the importance of memory, Away From Her is appropriately sophisticated in its treatment of time. Polley has broken the chronological story into three sections of unequal length and woven them together, approximating our own mercurial journeys through the past.
  4. To say it is about a debilitating disease is as reductive as saying "Little Miss Sunshine" is about a beauty pageant. Both are intimate stories of family ties that bind but sometimes also choke.
  5. Extraordinary--delicate, seriously disturbing, and lovely.
  6. 100
    Anyone who could read Munro’s original story and think they could make a film of it, and then make a great film, deserves a certain awe.
  7. 90
    I can't remember the last time the movies yielded up a love story so painful, so tender and so true.
  8. 90
    The movie, Polley's feature début, is a small-scale triumph that could herald a great career.
  9. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    For anyone who grew up worshiping at the shrine of Julie Christie, the notion that she could be playing a white-haired woman drifting into senility is a jolt to the system. But her radiance, beauty and talent are undiminished: she's hauntingly, heartbreakingly good.
  10. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    90
    It's a precociously assured and mature work, at once humble and bold, that keeps faith with Munro's precise, graceful prose while tailoring its linear progression into shapely cinematic form.
  11. Poignant, wise and unafraid -- just the sort of film for a young person, or any person, for that matter, to make.
  12. A phantom of a movie whose beautiful flakes fall into the deep crevices of memory long after the seasons change.
  13. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    A sad and sometimes funny tale of Alzheimer's, love and loss.
  14. A film rich in paradoxes. Much of the film's style is dreamy, from the snow-covered Ontario landscapes suggestive of a blanket of forgetfulness, to Julie Christie's pale, intoxicating beauty, to the ambient musical score.
  15. 88
    Julie Christie is simply astounding as a woman slipping into the ravages of Alzheimer's in Sarah Polley's deeply affecting and artfully crafted Away From Her.
  16. Even those who've long noted Polley's intelligence on screen will be amazed by the perception she displays as a filmmaker.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    With a tranquil fearlessness, it goes beyond the death of memory, to see what might be found in the unexplored country beyond. The answer is both frightening and comforting: More love. Unspecified love. Universal love.
  18. 88
    As this intimate, beautifully observed film unfolds, you realize that the story's themes -- the nature of love, the role of sex in relationships and the ways in which we learn to make peace with our guilty consciences -- are relevant no matter what age you happen to be.
  19. A heartbreaking elegy to mature love that honors the lovers and the long, neurodegenerative tango that is their last.
  20. A director needs to know how to pace the tale, where to place the camera, how to draw out a shy actor or get out of the way of a strong one. Those skills are rarer than you'd think. Sarah Polley, who never wrote or directed a feature film before Away From Her, has them all.
  21. 88
    All the acting is first-rate -- Dukakis gives major dimensions to a supporting role. And Christie, a Sixties screen goddess in "Darling" and "Doctor Zhivago," shows that her spirit and grace are eternal. She's a beauty. So is the movie.
  22. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    Does the finest job of any film in painting a believable portrait of aging, capturing the sadness, confusion, anxiety and defiance of the early stages of dementia.
  23. There's nothing messy or unkempt about the beautifully, quietly heartbreaking story of unconditional love and emotional sacrifice.
  24. A quiet, heartfelt story of love and loss.
  25. Given the subject, the movie is too romanticized, and Christie's eyes remain too sharp here to convincingly convey someone whose memory is fast slipping away. Much of it is powerful anyway.
  26. 83
    Has its heartbreaking moments and its surprise giggles, particularly thanks to Ron Hewat's minor role as a former hockey play-by-play announcer now narrating his nursing-home life.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 81 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 47
  2. Negative: 8 out of 47
  1. Apr 24, 2014
    8
    Had to watch this movie in class today and I was surprised buy this movie. The acting was great and the storyline hit the emotions reallyHad to watch this movie in class today and I was surprised buy this movie. The acting was great and the storyline hit the emotions really well. Also it is a Canadian movie with a Canadian Director so there were a lot of references to places in Canada and Canadian things. Which I loved because I am Canadian so they story felt close to home. Full Review »
  2. averyc
    Aug 8, 2009
    10
    This is a minor masterpiece. This isn't a film about illness. It's a film about love and a film about, what Proust always knew to This is a minor masterpiece. This isn't a film about illness. It's a film about love and a film about, what Proust always knew to be, the great tragedy of forgetting. What does the player king in 'Hamlet' say? "Memory is but the slave of passion?". It's about how people sometime trade love for the solace of similarity. It's about the fact that sometimes the most loving gesture one can make is to let the other go. Regardless of how much you can bench or how straight you drink your Maker's, if you've recently left a long, troubled relationship, you will cry and cry. Nobody knows how to say goodbye. Full Review »
  3. DianaM
    Jul 28, 2007
    4
    there are moments of transcendence here (the two most memorable being the aerial shot of christie in the snow field, and the use of neil there are moments of transcendence here (the two most memorable being the aerial shot of christie in the snow field, and the use of neil young's "harvest moon"), but without any believable timetable, the whole thing turns supermaudlin, confusing, and frankly, tedious. i kept waiting and waiting for fiona to say it'd all been just a well-acted hoax, that her rapid memory loss was aimed either to make grant move on with his life, or to finally punish him for that buried-but-not-forgotten-and-thus-not-buried-deep-enough indiscretion he made with a college student in the 70s. and speaking of which....
    ????!!? those flashbacks are shady. at one point i actually thought the girl would rise from the past--or from the dead--a la "what lies beneath." i could name a number of other "huhs?", if asked. maybe there wasn't enough time to show fiona's brain slowly unhinge and let the flood wash away grant's love. but one month?? one month in which she learns new things, suffers no fears, no violent outbursts, but loses every morsel of her life before??!! i will admit christie is exquisite. i could stop wishing i'll be half so earthy when/if i get old. olympia dukakis is hilarious, as always, though i don't think she was trying to be. oh, but i do love watching her mask break. polley shouldn't have been so verbatim in her translation from the short story. she needed either to expound on grant's affair, or do away with it completely. faboo camera work, however. all four points for that.
    Full Review »