Both Christie and Pinsent give restrained and self-reflective performances. At times, it is too much that way. The quiet acceptance of what life brings no matter how bad, makes it seem that maybe what they had wasn’t all that special after all. It’s a tad unclear if this is the message or not. Possibly I was just too slow to pick up on what I was supposed to pick up on. "Away From Her" is a very nice exercise. I just wish that I could have had a better understanding of their early life to help me understand them a bit better. Maybe the point is that it really doesn’t matter.
Fiona (Julie Christie) and Grant (Gordon Pinsent) are the perfect couple. They are successful and living in comfort in an utterly magical setting, enhanced by the stunning snow filled background. They have been together forever, and both, despite their age, look as elegant as can be imagined. There is little doubt that this was one stunning couple. Hell, they still are. How Julie Christie still looks this great is flat out amazing.
Fiona has become a tad forgetful but it is clear quite quickly what is to become of her. Alzheimer's Disease is coming and fighting against it is hopeless. Fiona handles it with a grace that any one of us could only hope to have under similar circumstances. The same can be said for Grant. It's tougher for him but he faces it with astounding bravery.
When it becomes clear that Grant cannot cope with this alone they reach a very mutual decision for her to go to a nursing home. After a lifetime together they are forced apart. Because of her condition, it is far easier on her than him. For thirty days he is not allowed to visit her so she can properly acclimate to her new surroundings. Grant is quite excited to see her after this imposed time apart but his visit does not go according to his plans, causing him to re-evaluate everything about his relationship and himself.