In my rave review of Sarah Polley's remarkable new film Away from Her, I predicted its quick and painless death. The twin subjects of old age and disease rarely strike any kind of fire at the box office, especially with a lack of compensating younger characters. But I'm very happy today to be proven wrong. Playing on just 256 screens, Away from Her very nearly cracked this week's box office top ten, coming it at #12 in a week loaded with "Part III" blockbusters. (For comparison, the number one movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, is playing on 4362 screens).
Polley's movie also broaches the issue of sex; there's an unspoken tension between husband Grant (Gordon Pinsent) and wife Fiona (Julie Christie) over some affairs Grant apparently had with his female students back in the free-love hippie era. Grant feels gnawing doubt and confusion after Fiona checks into the home and befriends a male patient, Aubrey (Michael Murphy). And finally, Grant has a new affair with Aubrey's wife Marian (Olympia Dukakis), based on loneliness and on the sheer fact that their spouses don't really remember them anymore.