12/29/07

Away From Her

You deserve to see a review of "Away From Her" simply because Julie Christie will probably be nominated for Best Actress for her lead role of a woman stricken by Alzheimer's. I checked the DVD out of the Seattle Library, so I know it is available on your rental lists. The problem I have with this is strictly personal. I watched a dear friend decline over a ten- year period, ultimately to die this year (2007).

Julie Christie ("Doctor Zhivago," "Hamlet" and "Shampoo") plays Fiona, a classically beautiful patient who, to my chagrin, never deteriorates. She remains beautiful, maybe her hair is a bit more tousled, but taste- fully so, clear to the end. Her thought processes are still cogent when they are verbalized and that part I know to be heartbreakingly UNtrue! I concede that they show her to be less and less verbal, but her insight and her social skills remain untouched.

First-time director, Sarah Polley, is a talented Canadian actress, who may or may not have ever dealt with Alzheimer's on a personal basis. I willingly concede that every case can be different...however...

As you may recall, I recently did a review of "Iris" starring Dame Judi Dench and every centimeter of that film was true to life! - NO contest! The eyes, the mouth, the hair, the physical stance, the tilt of the head, the lightly veiled hostility, the anxiety, all were painfully authentic.

Suffice it to say, it is nice to see an Academy favorite still slogging away, but she needs more authentic scripts. I have no doubt that she could rise to the challenge...