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'Away from Her'

There's always been an exquisite blankness to Julie Christie's beauty — something remote and chilly in her gaze — and it's never been better used than it is here. Christie plays a woman whose memory is slipping away, something that's clear from the very first scene: She and her husband (Gordon Pinsent) are washing dishes. He hands her a frying pan he's just dried, and she takes it and puts it away ... in the freezer. His eyes follow her out of the room, and they tell you everything he's thinking. Hers are utterly serene. A visit to the doctor confirms that she has Alzheimer's — and in the way the two of them cope with that, in the distance that grows between them, there's a wrenching story of devotion and of moving on. The film marks an astonishing directorial debut for actress Sara Polley and a breathtaking return for Julie Christie. (Recommended)

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