Charlotte Gray

Charlotte GrayThe problem with Charlotte Gray is that it never really lives up to what is should have been. While other Second World War films with female lead characters like Julia, Plenty or Enigma have been successful at portraying the horrors of war while providing dynamic roles for Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett is sort of wasted in this film. It’s not without its intrigue. Trained to be a stealthy courier behind enemy lines, Charlotte Gray is dropped into Vichy France (in a scene that is done far better in A Bridge Too Far) to assist the French Resistance. But Charlotte has an ulterior motive – to find her great love, Peter, an RAF pilot who has been shot down over France. Rather than giving us a story about a woman who selflessly risks her life for her country, we get a love story provided through annoying flashbacks that reveal the true motives behind her sudden burst of patriotism.

The war merely provides colour for a love story to unfold, first between Charlotte and Peter and then between Charlotte and a pilot she meets in France played by Billy Crudup. While I admire Crudup’s work, he is miscast in this role, which should have gone to an English actor. His accent is not quite good enough and I could not get his Almost Famous role out of my mind as he tried to play a Brit. Assigned to the Communist Resistance, a group fighting their own internal battles as much as they are sabotaging the Vichy government and the Nazis, Charlotte seeks to work around her position and piece together what happened to Peter and where he might be if he were still alive.

Amidst the resistance double crosses, love story flashbacks and the blossoming relationship between the two leads, there is a movie here, but for the life of me, I just can’t see why. The elements are all there – action, intrigue, and love – but it is pieced together in a cumbersome fashion and after a while, it is easy to lose interest. Part of the problem is with the war film techniques. The washed-out, grainy post-Saving Private Ryan style is effective at portraying the intensity of battle, but not at showcasing Blanchett’s radiance. And, quite frankly, that’s what I want to see. I want to see Blanchett in vivid colour, not in washed out grey hues. And Vichy France never looked so rainy, ugly and nasty. She is not in the trenches but in small provincial towns that should be beautiful, even if they are bombed out. But this film could have been set in Dresden after the fire bombing because it looks like hell. This is not to say that the Second World War should look nice but the dreariness of this film – which is really just about a love triangle – is a detriment.

Gillian Armstrong is normally a fantastic director, and made one of the most underrated epics with her wonderful adaptation of Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda, which starred Blanchett in her first big screen role. Armstrong’s Australian films are always smart and interesting, not unlike her Kiwi counterpart Jane Campion. But with Charlotte Gray, it does not feel like an Armstrong film, with no signature touch. For a much better film about women during wartime, see Jonathan Demme’s sleeper Swing Shift, as well as Enigma. For a great movie about the French resistance, seek out John Frankenheimer’s The Train.

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Human Nature

Human NatureCharlie Kaufman makes the kind of movies the United States either isn’t ready for yet or can no longer tolerate. Despite the success of the Kaufman penned, Spike Jonze directed, Being John Malkovich, Kaufman’s concepts seem too lofty, his satire too broad for most Americans to swallow. It’s too bad, because many who might have enjoyed it were denied the pleasure of seeing Human Nature during its disturbingly short run in theatres. But in a cinematic climate where revenge fantasies and improbable romances are the norm, is there room for a fur-covered Patricia Arquette and feces-smeared Rhys Ifans? You tell me.

Human Nature intertwines the lives of three ridiculous characters in a tragic farce that winkingly examines the conflict between civilization and animal instinct. Arquette, as Lila Jute, suffers from heavy all-over body hair. As a man, she’d be no worse-off than Robin Williams, but as a woman, she’s seen as a freak. Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins) is a behavioural scientist so repressed by his irrational parents that his current project involves teaching mice table manners, and Rhys Ifans is Puff, a man who believes he was raised by apes. If this sounds like the set-up for a love-triangle, then you are Kaufman’s type of moviegoer.

As such, you’ll realize that underneath the freak-show elements, Kaufman is making a point about something that most of us simply don’t want to examine: the fact that humans are animals that have become perilously disconnected from this knowledge. Are there possible consequences to living a life governed by self-imposed rules designed to keep our animal impulses in check? And if so, what should we do about it? What can we do about it?

Who knows? But at the base of any love-triangle is something of an animal instinct, the desire to take another’s mate. That’s too highbrow a viewpoint, even for such earthy subject matter as this, so Kaufman piles high the slapstick, which is directed with slick aplomb by Michel Gondry. Whacked-out comedy pervades the picture, but with a weird Kaufman edge. Scenes of Bronfman training Puff how to be a man sound a contemporary echo to Young Frankenstein, while playing hip, raunchy and hilarious. Ludicrous images of laboratory mice seating each other at a tiny dinner table earn big laughs, but don’t compare to what Arquette is subjected to. If her freak-show ‘Queen Kong’ act (complete with a midget in a bi-plane shooting at her) doesn’t get you, how will you handle the surreal delight of watching her waltz naked and hairy through the sun-dappled forest while singing a happy tune?

I’m surprised more people didn’t catch on to the low-pressure brilliance of this movie on its first run, but then again it is a high-concept satire. Please don’t let that discourage you, because Human Nature is also fast-paced, smart, and really funny. Rent it, buy it, whatever you feel is right. It’s a totally unexpected laugh-fest.

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Iron Maiden: Rock in Rio

Iron Maiden: Rock in RioWhen I received this life performance film on DVD, my first reaction was, “They’re still around?” You see, I was once a fan of Iron Maiden… back in the early 1990s! And even then, hair metal bands were past their prime. Still, I, and especially the Beavis and Butthead types I hung out with dug Maiden a lot. Since then, I moved on to other kinds of music, listening to bands that didn’t have angry skeletons on their album covers. Around the same time, singer Bruce Dickinson left the group, so it was even easier to dismiss them.

But what do we have here? A live concert DVD shot in 2001 in Brazil, with Dickinson back fronting the band. I was sceptical during the film’s introduction, tempted to mock these old, sagging, long-haired British has-beens who are still taking the stage to sing of wildebeests and angels. But then something happened: they start to play… and they rock! They’re on this huge stage at the Rock in Rio festival with stuff blowing up everywhere and countless spotlights creating complex lighting arrangements, with 250,000 pumped up South American head-bangers going crazy. Halfway into the first song they had me with a wide grin on my face, tapping my feet and playing air guitar.

After all these years, Iron Maiden is still a tight, powerful band, keeping at it for two relentless hours. Watching them perform, I remembered that they were – and remain – more sophisticated and skilled than most of their devil-worshipping contemporaries. From Dickinson’s astonishing vocal range (he could have been an opera singer) to the complex, nearly epic riffs of Adrian Smith, Janick Gers and Dave Murray’s three-men “wall of guitars,” to the machine-gun rhythm section formed by bass player Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain, Maiden’s sound is not as much heavy as it is full. They deserve the “progressive metal” descriptive with which they’re sometimes associated.

Rock in Rio is a must for any Maiden fan, past or present. Highlights include: everything from the classic “The Number of the Beast” album, especially the title track (Satanism at its catchiest!) and the anthem “Run to the Hills”; “Fear of the Dark”, which I find to be their best composition, maybe because it was released just when I got into Maiden; “The Clansman” and “Sign of the Cross”, stretched to nearly ten minutes by trippy guitar solos; “The Evil That Men Do”, particularly memorable because it has a 10 foot tall Eddie walking on stage. I’d never heard the six songs from the latest studio album, “Brave New World”, but I found them surprisingly good, on par with what Maiden recorded at the top of their form.

Complete Set List

“The Wicker Man” (Brave New World, 2000)

“Ghost of the Navigator“(Brave New World, 2000)

“Brave New World” (Brave New World, 2000)

“Wrathchild” (Killers, 1981)

“2 Minutes to Midnight” (Powerslave, 1984)

“Blood Brothers” (Brave New World, 2000)

“Sign of the Cross” (The X Factor, 1995)

“The Mercenary” (Brave New World, 2000)

“The Trooper” (Piece of Mind, 1983)

“Dream of Mirrors” (Brave New World, 2000)

“The Clansman” (Virtual XI, 1998)

“The Evil That Men Do” (Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, 1988),

“Fear of the Dark” (Fear of the Dark, 1992)

“Iron Maiden” (Iron Maiden, 1980)


“The Number of the Beast” (The Number of the Beast, 1982)

“Hallowed Be Thy Name” (The Number of the Beast, 1982)

“Sanctuary” (Iron Maiden, 1980)

“Run to the Hills” (The Number of the Beast, 1982)

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EmpireThis movie has an interesting premise. A drug kingpin is allowed access to the ivory towers of Wall Street’s elite after befriending one of these, to use Tom Wolfe’s term, ‘Masters of the Universe’. But the heyday of junk bonds and Reagan-era deal making is long gone and what is left is the post-9/11 tech tumble Wall Street where Jack (played by Peter Sarsgaard) makes his living. John Leguizamo plays Victor Rosa, South Bronx drug dealer and a pretty street-smart guy who is also “young, Latin and good lookin.” He sees his chance to get out of the business, to make a clean break and go legit, with a beautiful girlfriend and forthcoming kid and more money than he knows what to do with. Which is precisely why he elicits the help of Jack, whom he meets at a party, or rather goes along with Jack’s plan to turn his drug money into a diversified portfolio, so to speak, invested wisely. Jack also is the gatekeeper to the kind of rich and rewarding life Victor so desperately wants, away from the projects and into the highlife. Jack even lets Victor use his SoHo apartment free of charge. But Victor, who is usually about as trusting as a shark, soon finds that all is not as it seems.

So far, this is not bad. It’s timely: investment banker robs drug dealer in greedy Nueva York. Leguizamo shows some acting muscle as a sort-of New York flash-and-macho version of Tony Montana, with a dose of Tony Soprano thrown in for good measure. Sarsgaard is equally effective as the conniving Jack, like a character out of a Bret Easton Ellis novel. It’s sort of a 21st century morality play with a Latino hip hop beat. But the second half of the movie really goes downhill, particularly the supporting cast, with actors such as Denise Richards, who plays Sarsgaard’s girlfriend. Director Franc Reyes just does not have enough of a script to pull this thing off and it self-destructs into the kind of genre action flick that – while not altogether bad – is disappointing.

Victor, financially devastated, seeks revenge big time. So he assembles his crew (including a few of rap’s finest) and gets to work. But Jack, with his Ivy League education, is a smart cookie as well, and so the stakes are raised. To give any more away would be to spoil the ending, but like What’s The Worst That Could Happen?, the awful Danny DeVito/ Martin Lawrence film about a rich white man who robs a burglar, this movie feels like it has been done before as both comedy and urban drama.

This is the first film from Arenas Entertainment, a division of Universal that seeks to reach out to its Hispanic-American audience with Latino-written and directed films. To give them credit, it is a slightly different take on the familiar gangster/ drug boss theme, be it the Godfather or Scarface or Clockers. Leguizamo is a really good actor and he carries most of this film. I like his facial expressions and his stylish delivery with a seething anger beneath the surface. It’s just too bad the script can’t live up to his performance. Richards’ trophy girlfriend is about as bad as Daryl Hannah’s in Wall Street, which is a shame. In fact, there are a few lines that will get big unintentional laughs. No es bueno. Fans of this type of film will find some enjoyment and Reyes probably has a good future, not unlike Antoine Fuqua, which makes me hopeful for a really great sophomore effort.

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MayThere are some films that dodge convention, escape genre classification, and leave you thinking afterward, “What exactly did I just watch?” For better or worse, Lucky McKee’s debut film May fits comfortably into this group. I went in expecting another tired gothic horror film by a slick, young director but was surprisingly greeted with an intelligent, original, and often darkly comical exploration of teen angst and the instinctual need to be accepted.

The title character May is played by first-time actress Angela Bettis. While she doesn’t quite give what several critics have called one of the best performances of the year, she does a fine job showing maturity far beyond her years. She relies a bit too heavily on carefully practiced mannerisms and is too often trying to appear awkward and strange rather than just being it. This can often be excused or at least overlooked because of the film’s over-the-top nature. For every scene that portrays a realistic confrontation between May and the man of her dreams (Jeremy Sisto), there is another that mutates the world into the way May sees it. The other-worldly, horror aspects of the film only pop up occasionally to develop the right amount of suspense or just to foreshadow how strange the film is going to get.

The film relies on us to accept that May’s childhood was tragic and that growing up with a doll as her best friend is the sole reason for her dysfunctional behaviour. It’s a bit of a stretch, but considering that the film takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the material, there are times when you just need to go with the flow. As May’s disorder, some would call it pure insanity, becomes increasingly apparent, her desire for actual friends decreases. Bettis is successful at making the transition from the seemingly sweet girl at the film’s beginning to the deeply disturbed one at the end. The gruesome scenes that develop from this are enough to make you turn your head in disgust and as light-hearted as it comes across, there is more blood and gore than is necessary.

May comes off as amateurish and flat at times, but its originality and sheer passion for storytelling should be commended. The originality factor, however, is a double-edged sword. While it probably won’t be like anything you’ve ever seen before, this movie is also so strange at times that its motives are clearly to generate pure shock value. It’s a made-for-order cult film that will likely find a small band of loyal supporters and be ignored or forgotten by most others. I don’t fit into either group but I recommend it if you’re looking for a film that’s a little weirder than most.

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Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony

Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part HarmonyAmandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony won the best documentary award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. It also took home the ifreedom of expressioni award because Amandla! is about the music that fuelled the protest against South Africais apartheid. Mention iapartheidi to anyone born before 1975 and they will likely cringe. The system, installed by the Boer government of South Africa in 1948, systematically separated black African inativesi from the white minority. Legislation robbed the native people of their land, their livelihood, their families and their freedom.

Amandla! is a bittersweet celebration of music. As the musicians, historians and former freedom fighters remember the songs, they also recall the friends, family and heroes who fell during the struggle. Director Lee Hirsch expertly weaves in historical footage, photographs and recordings, but the most poignant moments are when the camera is focused on people singing; some recall whole songs, others only a line or a verse but all of them remember moments when the music changed their lives, helped them move on, or called them to action.

The title Amandla! can be translated as a call of ipower to the peoplei which is precisely what the freedom songs provided. The movie traces the struggle from beginning to end, and the role that music played at each juncture in the struggle. The music changed each time the mood of the struggle changed; as the peopleis will was broken by exiles and detentions in the 1960s, the music turned from joyous to reflective. When young people made a new call to war, the music took on a youthful bounce and the lyrics, a decidedly violent tone. One woman recalled how some white people would clap along to the happy tunes, unable to translate the lyrics, which called for the blacks to rise up and kill their oppressors. As I watched the film, seeing some of the songs translated onscreen through subtitles, the hair on my neck stood up, because it was scary that such angry words could be conveyed through jubilant music

The movie is dedicated to Vuyisile Mini, who composed many of the earliest freedom songs of the protest movement and who was sentenced to death in 1964. The movie opens with his story and moves through the history of the conflict that led to the free elections in 1994. Many prominent South African musicians n Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim, Vusi Mahlasela and Sophie Mgcina n are showcased throughout the film in performance and interviews. So many songs are performed that the song credits at the end of the film run longer than the cast and crew credits. Hirsch set out to record the freedom songs for posterity, before they were lost to time, and he succeeded in doing that and so much more. He has recorded the struggle of a people, which came with its own soundtrack, as the title says, in four-part harmony.

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DerangedWhen people discuss the classic ebased on real-live psychosi movies, their conversations generally veer toward movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs and Psycho. But the spectres of Ed Gein and his peers also inspired several other (lesser-known) flicks, one of which is Deranged n a slow-moving but generally not altogether awful little horror movie.

One big asset here is the performance of Roberts Blossom as lunatic Ezra Cobb. Based (reportedly very closely) on the true story of Ed Gein, Deranged wanders and meanders and often threatens to roll to a complete stop n yet Blossomis inherent creepiness keeps things at least minimally compelling.

Campy and periodically quite grim, the film details Cobbis more unsavoury activities, most of which deal with the care and maintenance of his dead motheris exhumed and rather unpleasant corpse. Ezrais neighbours are kept in the dark for way too long (considering how loopy the guy really is) but once the backwoods carnage starts seeping into the town, the citizens catch wind and get whipped up and angry.

Released on DVD alongside the also enjoyably campy Motel Hell, Deranged certainly isnit the finest adaptation of Geinis misadventures to hit the screen, and at times the movie is quite deadly dull. Still thereis a little fun to be had for fans of old-school indie horror.

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Horses Mouth, The

Horse's Mouth, TheWhen I crack open a new shipment of DVDs for review, few words are more exciting to see than “Criterion” and “Collection”. Long the towering champion of DVD studios, Criterion simply delivers the finest DVDs on the planet. Boasting “a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films,” Criterion’s modus operandi is to ‘lease’ certain titles (usually obscure or foreign titles) from their respective studios and craft something truly collectible. If it’s a Criterion release, you’re looking at something of quality.

Since I’d never even heard of The Horse’s Mouth before the DVD arrived, I was more than a little intrigued. Alec Guinness (probably best known as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars films, but that’s a sad fact if it’s true) in an old English comedy from 1958? Directed by a guy I knew only from The Poseidon Adventure and Meteor? And the fine folks at Criterion saw fit to dust this particular chestnut off for the digital age? Okay, I was now very intrigued.

Guinness plays a cantankerous and anti-social artist named Gulley Jimson. As the film opens, Jimson is being released from prison, where he was sent for making crank calls to his former benefactor, threatening terribly amusing things. After shooing away his omnipresent student and shooing the young vandals away from his dilapidated houseboat, Jimson heads straight for the local pub…and that’s where Cokey is waiting for him.

Cokey is Jimson’s ‘autumn years’ girlfriend, and it’s at her behest that Jimson takes tentative steps toward improving his life. Granted, the egocentric painter’s unruly behaviour often digs him into even deeper trouble, but therein lies the charm of the character. This movie represents Jimson’s world, and everyone else is either an obstacle to overcome or an ally to overlook. With Cokey along for guidance, Jimson makes an effort to get life back on track, His attempts to recover his lost – and now valuable – art lead to all sorts of anarchic craziness. Imagine ‘The Three Stooges’ by way of ‘The New Yorker Magazine,’ and you’re getting close.

If the plot seems a bit rambly, that’s because The Horse’s Mouth is a devilishly enjoyable character study, and not a film particularly interested in the A to B to C plot threads you find in most films. If there’s one clear way to sum up how great this movie is, it’s by simply mentioning Guinness’ name. Jimson is selfish and rude. He rarely has a kind word for anyone and his appearance ranges from ‘mildly dishevelled’ to ‘tragically exhausted’. Those who profess an admiration for his artworks are inevitably rebuffed and those who try to aid the aggravated old coot are generally treated with scorn and dismissal. If Gulley Jimson lived next door to you, I bet you’d be looking for a new house.

Yet you won’t be able to take your eyes off the guy, and by the movie’s end, you’ll look at the character like you would your favourite art teacher. Though the movie is Guinness’ game all the way (he also penned the screenplay based on Joyce Cary’s novel), much praise is also owed to director Ronald Neame. Though it’s a painfully dry and droll comedy (that’s a compliment), Neame keeps the action moving, the London setting is nothing short of exhilarating, the supporting cast is rock-solid, and there are even a few deep little lessons offered along the way.

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Gone Baby Gone

Gone Baby GoneIt might just be that Ben Affleckis rightful place is behind the camera. That would explain why Iive never been able to buy his performances in front of it. And it would allow the spotlight of onscreen attention to linger more on Casey Affleck, the younger of the two brothers, and the one whose performances are more credible.

So itis encouraging to see Gone Baby Gone, with Ben Affleck directing and Casey Affleck starring as Patrick Kenzie, a young private detective whois called in to help locate a missing child who appears to have been kidnapped from Kenzieis Boston neighbourhood. The childis drug addled mother (Amy Ryan) appears to be of questionable character, and we soon begin to learn that everything we learn here is likely to be contradicted before long.

Patrickis partner in detective work (Michelle Monaghan) is also his partner in life, and before long, this case n in which she is less enthusiastic about becoming entangled n begins to place strains on their relationship. Patrick uses his contacts on the street to gather information that the police donit have, putting him in an interesting n and somewhat dicey n position of being neither with the not-so-good-guys, nor with the police.

Based on the Dennis Lehane novel, itis not surprising that some of the themes of Lehaneis best known work (Mystic River) appear here as well n principally the havoc wreaked by abuse of children and the hazy realm of real-world morality that may or may not be consistent with the law.

Affleck has gathered together a capable cast, including Ed Harris, John Ashton, Morgan Freeman, Ryan, and Monaghan. They deliver a twist-filled story of trauma and intrigue, complete with at least three points at which the story appears to be over, only to lurch back to life again. He also has done a good job of collecting distinctive, authentic-looking actors and extras to populate the background of the story, which gives a strong sense of working class Boston.

As is often the case with first-time directors, Affleck throws in a few too many estandard directorsi staplesi such as handheld camera work, use in some scenes of natural-looking light, and aerial shots to link scenes. The first two of these fit with the gritty, occasionally even claustrophobic feel of Gone Baby Gone, but the third seems entirely out of place. With experience, Affleck will likely do a better job of avoiding gimmicks that drain atmosphere from his film.

The main weaknesses here are with the story, which goes for just one (or maybe two) too many twists, resulting in a sense of contrivance by filmis end, which is not entirely satisfying. This is too bad, as Affleck has done a good job of plucking out the moral conundrums Lehaneis novel explores, and there are several points where the film veers away from predictability or melodrama, which is certainly pleasing. Yet Affleckis exploration of these conundrums is tarnished by too many ithey wouldnit really do thati moments in the story. As a result, Gone Baby Gone doesnit come close to measuring up to Mystic River, even though Affleck has done a highly credible job as a first-time director.

On balance, this is a decent, serious film thatis capably directed and very nicely acted, especially by Casey Affleck, Monaghan, Ryan, and a sometimes over-the-top Harris. Even with its overly-contrived twists, Gone Baby Gone still makes for solid and even thought provoking entertainment.

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Away From Her

Away From HerPopulation trends being what they are, weire likely to see a lot more movies like Away From Her in the future, and thatis a good thing.

Itis not that thereis a trend toward a more intelligent, thoughtful movie-going audience. And itis certainly not that Canadian-made films set in the Great White North are becoming all the rage due to population shifts. No. But it is true that n as the average age in most Western nations gets older n movies portraying mid- and later-life are likely to become increasingly popular. The fact that Away From Her is extremely well made n and the work of a writer/ director (Sarah Polley) whois showing herself to be a remarkable talent before reaching 30 years old n is simply a bonus.

Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie play Grant and Fiona, a long-married couple facing a new challenge. Fiona is experiencing increasing symptoms of dementia n Alzheimeris disease n and the filmis early scenes show how this is affecting her life, and how she and Grant are contemplating a move for Fiona from the coupleis idyllic country home to a care facility.

Yes, this is different from the average Hollywood storyline, thatis for sure. And things get even more interesting after Fiona makes the move and Grant finds himself very much on the outside looking in, despite his commitment to visit and care for Fiona on a daily basis. The core of the movie is about adjusting to change and finding new ways of showing love and commitment. Polley has drawn this story from a short story by the great Canadian writer Alice Munro, and it is achingly truthful. We watch Grant cope with a radically altered life, eventually rising to the occasion in a way that takes loyalty n and moving on n to new levels.

This is a smart, concise film, one thatis focused on ideas and relationships rather than visuals (although there are some attractive scenes of cross-country skiing amidst Ontariois winter). Itis painful yet beautiful, surprising us on occasion but absolutely ringing true at every moment.

Polleyis solid work is aided immensely by a talented cast. Pinsent is a Canadian treasure, largely unknown outside that country despite a long career of impressive performances. His acting is naturalistic and unaffected, and he conveys a great deal with his eyes n reminiscent of the equally wonderful Chris Cooper. Christie is also very good, her appearance here likely as much a favour to Polley as anything else n Christieis anti-Hollywood stance and staunchly independent and political life since her 1960s stardom apparently has made her a role model for Polley, whose inclinations are similar. She plays Fiona without artifice or sentimentality, exhibiting flashes of humour and is entirely credible as a woman sliding in and out of disconnection with reality.

While this is a serious n and sometimes exceedingly sad n film, Away From Her is ultimately uplifting, as Grant has the maturity, wisdom and strength to find ways of coping with his changed life without disrespecting Fiona or himself. The movie also benefits from some wonderful moments of lightness n particularly the entirely credible quirks of some of the care home residents, including a retired hockey play-by-play announcer who announces every step of his life as if itis a big game that heis been hired to describe to all those around him.

Dementia is real and itis about time it got some onscreen attention n and in a quality film thatis not just a tearjerker or filled with stereotypes. Itis nice to see serious issues other than crime and drugs in the movies and even nicer to see a filmmaking talent like Sarah Polley blossoming.

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