The movie Far from Her, is a movie script adaptation from the narrative Bear came over the Mountain by Alice Munro. The story focuses around the relationship of Fiona and Grant, an Ontario couple wed over 40 years. The couple is required to face that fact that Fionas lapse of memory is actually Alzheimers illness. After Fiona stray and is found after being lost, she realizes that she can no longer live in the house.
Fiona has too much self-pride for herself, and excessive pity for Grant, to subject him to her deteriorating mind. She makes the choice on her own to explore a comfortable close-by retirement home.
The assisted living home they select has a no-visitors policy for the first thirty days of the clients stay, to let them adjust to their new settings. When Grant visits Fiona after the very first month of her staying in the nursing home, he discovers that not just has she forgotten him, however Fiona has actually transferred her feelings to another male.
The other guy is Aubrey, a wheelchair bound mute patient at the retirement home. His other half Marian later on moves Aubrey out of the home. As the distance between Grant and Fiona increases, Grant should compromise his own joy for Fiona. This moving story, was informed from the viewpoint of the director and screenplay author, Sarah Polley. I believe that she used the films focus of Alzheimer, humour and intimacy in between the characters to show an honest relationship of a forty-year marriage.
Objectively the movie is the battle of relationship with a females suffering from Alzheimers. I think that the director, Sarah Polley utilized function of Alzheimers in the film as a metaphor for how memory plays out in a long relationship: what we choose to keep in mind what we pick to forget. At a point in the movie, where Grant drove Fiona, we get a twinkle that their marriage wasnt all like it seemed to be. Fiona mentions a more youthful female, a trainee of Grants who somehow had an impact of their marital relationship. Although Fiona doesn’t come out right and state it, the movie suggests that Grant may have cheated or at least was lured to cheat on her. After that event, he swore he would do anything for her. Grant retired from the university and they left to the home on the lake, where the two have lived ever considering that.
It is interesting to see that memory is selective, and that through the whole disease she still seems to remember the things she wishes she would forget. Polley explores the dynamics of the survival of a long marriage, managing to do so without having to rely on flashbacks of a romantic past. The only flashback we see in the film is a screen shot of Fiona as a young woman smiling, no dialogue, just the image. I think the image isnt mean to represents a romantic past of their younger years, but an ideal of health that Grant wishes he had back. He is attempting to cope with a new Fiona he doesnt recognize, nor who recognizes him. I think the film shows Grant discovering himself after being married to somebody for so long, realizing what unconditional love meant at the end of their marriage. In this case Grant reaches out to Marian, Aubreys wife to convince her that Aubrey come to visit Fiona.
Sarah Polley also uses subtle humour in her film. The humour in film provided relief to the tension of the film and also gave insight to the bigger perspective of life itself. The film focus is surrounding a debilitating disease and its impact on others, so it is important for comedic relief. For example, Fiona jokes with Grant about not remembering where he was going, later adding in a just kidding. Although the films humour is not very substantial, I think it represents the idea that life goes on. I think that this is also characterized through the relationship that develops between Grant and Marian. Marian is a pretty witty older lady, and the dynamic of her and Grant is hilarious. Marian is straight to the point, strong spoken, while Grant is more passive in his speaking.
I think that this dynamic may have been similar to of Grants and Fionas relationship, although Fiona appears to be more classy than Marian. Fiona used humour subtly after learning of her condition. Even her appointment with the doctor, she was using humour in some form to answer the doctors question. I think the use of humour is a coping mechanism for Fiona, but also shows her strength of character. Fionas acceptance of her diagnosis is shown through her swift actions and her positive behaviour such as humour, proves her strength of character. I think that this adds to the proof of her real courage and strength, which helps to give evidence to her and Grants marriage being able to last over forty years.
The last item that I believe the director wanted to address was the idea of a sexual relationship among older adults. In a few parts of the movie, there are intimate encounters between Fiona and Grant, and Grant and Marian. Many films, for example the Notebook, and others that deal with people in their 60s and 70s, give off the idea that they are very sweet and sexless. Although it is somewhat seem as taboo that elderly dont engage in sexual activity, I think that Polley used this as part of a way to show the true honesty of the relationship. We are not given some cookie cutter idea of the marriage. Polley used the opportunity of showcasing intimacy among older people, as a sign that there is a reason why people are together for so long. There arent just meaningful conversations; there is actual chemistry still there between two people after all those years. There is truth to the relationship, whether it be their apparent intimacy level, or the trials and tribulations they have gone through over the years.
After watching the film, I could see why it received so many awards. Julie Christie, played her part brilliantly, with the ability to balance a person with Alzheimers enough so that it is clear her mind is deteriorating, but not too much that she comes off as crazy. You see a significant change in her mannerisms and speaking from the start of the movie from the end of the movie. I think her role impeccably shows the disease of Alzheimers in a way that is real, and gives meaning to the clear changes that the family has to go through. I found it interesting that after thirty days she had forgotten Grant, and never retained any memory of him. I longed for her to show some glimmer of memory, whether it be a song and scent, but that day never came.
I was very much moved by the relationship between Grant and Fiona. The relationship seemed very realistic, the dynamics between the two did not seemed forced by anyway. I appreciated the fact that there was truth to their long span of marriage, such as the altercation between Grant and one of his students. Even though this happened, the two stuck together for better and for worse. The fact that among the beginning of her disease Fiona still had memory of this, shows the significance it had on their marriage. I also thought that it was important to show that they still were intimate, and had chemistry between the two. It signified how important they were to one another and how difficult it was for Grant to accept Fionas condition, but his willingness and persistence to stay by her side. This movie gave a true portrait of real life couples, struggling with day to day life, a marriage isnt one huge love story, it takes a mutual commitment.
The whole aspect of Alzheimers is quite foreign to me. One set of my grandparents are deceased, while the other I am not super close to. There is a language barrier between my grandmother and I, making it difficult to communicate. She has begun to show some forgetfulness, but it hasnt really progressed into anything serious. I think that the if I was more aware of the effects of Alzheimers on a personal level, I may be more effected by the film and Fionas condition. I think that Alzheimers would be the most horrifying diseases for me. In the beginning, between episodes of memory and no memory, I think I would really struggle with dealing with the disease.
When I was coherent of what was happening, that I was not remembering things would probably really upset me. I like that feeling of being in control, so not being able to remember simple things would really bother me. As time goes on through the film, I really start to feel for Grant, because at this point I dont think Fiona realize what is going on. Although it is sad for Fiona, she is unaware what is going on, while Grant is forced to deal with the disease as well. I think that it was sad to see Grant become aware that the Alzheimers disease is the beginning of the end and will ultimately result in his wifes death. I think that as he sat in the dining room hall watching the patients, he observed various stages of Alzheimers, becoming aware of what was to come in the near future.
Another impact of the film on me, was the budding relationship between Grant and Marian. I found it difficult to understand the timeline of the film, because it seemed to switch back and forth between the past and present. However, I think it was important for Grant to develop a relationship with Marian. I think he needed that support from somebody who knew what he was going through. It also gave hope the notion that there is something for him to look forward too, despite of his situation with his wife. He had somebody he could rely on, be intimate with and share a connection with. It shows that all human strive for that connection with people, and he had lost that with his wife due to her disease.
The biggest problem I had was with the ending of the film. In the end, Grant convinces Marian to bring Aubrey back to the nursing home to visit Fiona. The connection that bonded Fiona and Aubrey together everyday was ripped apart, when Marian took Aubrey out of the home. Fiona seemed to miss Aubrey, but the mention of him decreased as time went on.
However, Grant convinced for the meeting to happen. However, in the end when Grant tells her that Aubrey was there, Fiona had forgotten who Aubrey was. This was the end of the movie, and it was truly heartbreaking. The effort that Grant put in for this to happen didnt even matter in the end. Although it gives justice to the true effects of the disease, I had wished for a happy ending. Whether it be Fiona remembers Aubrey or Grant. However, Polley stayed consistent with her depiction of a real life relationship right until the end of the film.
In conclusion, I overall enjoyed the film Away from Her. The film focused around the story of an elderly couple, Grant and Fiona, who are forced to deal with Fionas diagnose of Alzheimers. The director, Sarah Polley used a combination of humour and human intimacy to depict a true honest relationship of a long lasting marriage. I found the movie somewhat moving, enjoying the dynamic relationship of Fiona, Grant, Aubrey and Marian. I would have been more impacted if I had a personal experience related to Alzheimers, but still found the film moving. I wish the film had ended differently, in a way that she would somehow recognize Grants efforts for his love for Fiona.
Opinion Piece about FilmAway From Her. Film (2006)
Cite this essay
Away From Her – A Film Review. (2016, Jul 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/away-from-her-a-film-review-essay