Movie: Away From Her
Director/Studio: Sarah Polley / Lionsgate
10 Word Review: Alzheimer's drama features stellar performances; emotionally powerful without being manipulative.
Best Thing About It: The performances by the leads, Julie Christie as a woman with Alzheimer's who decides to check herself into an assisted living facility before she gets too far gone and Gordon Pinsent as her husband who has to watch her steadily slip away. They're both so heartbreakingly real. A close second, however, is the remarkably sure-handed direction from Sarah Polley. If this is her first try at directing, I can't wait to see where she goes from here.
Worst Thing About It: Every once in a while, Polley's direction gets a little unnecessarily showy, but if that's the worst thing I can say about it? Nice job.
Best Performance: It's almost impossible to choose between Christie and Pinsent, so I'll say it's a tie. And kudos to Olympia Dukakis and Kristen Thomson, too, for giving such unexpectedly deep supporting performances.
Oscar Prospects: Christie stands the best chance of holding on for a Best Actress bid, but there's a distressingly good chance the voters will have forgotten her in favor of newer, shinier options. In a weaker year for Adapted Screenplay, I'd have held out hope as well, but it's not that year.