Former mythology professor Grant (Gordon Pinsent) has been in love with--and married to--gorgeous spirited Fiona (a radiant Julie Christie) for more than 40 years. After some turbulence earlier in their marriage (Grant wasn't always as faithful as he is now) they've spent the last two decades in their own private haven a rustic Canadian cottage that lends itself to cross-country ski treks and intimate dinners. But their idyll is shattered when Fiona starts forgetting simple things--like what "wine" is called; they soon discover she's suffering from early onset Alzheimer's. Against Grant's desperate protests Fiona checks into a retirement facility called Meadowlands. There as Grant watches from the sidelines heartbroken she develops feelings for a fellow patient Aubrey (Michael Murphy). Ultimately Grant must figure out the best way to prove his love. Away From Her is the kind of movie that succeeds or fails almost wholly on the strength of its cast--happily in this case it's the former. Christie is all elegant grace as Fiona from her beautiful mane of white hair to her impeccable sense of style. But she's impulsive and approachable too with an earthiness that grounds her. Her sense of fun and joy is clear from the sparkle in her eyes--when that sparkle starts to dim the audience like Grant mourns its loss. As Grant Pinsent is both stoic and achingly vulnerable; he can't bear watching Fiona slip away but he also can't bring himself to cause her any more pain. In the supporting cast Kristen Thomson is refreshingly forthright as Kristy the Meadowlands nurse who always tells Grant the truth and Olympia Dukakis is believably brassy as Aubrey's wife Marian who's not quite ready to give up on life. Sarah Polley has spent plenty of hours in front of the camera but Away From Her marks the Canadian actress' feature directorial debut. She's obviously learned a lot from the talented filmmakers she's worked with particularly Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) whose aesthetic is similarly spare and minimalistic. Although her long lingering close-ups (Christie's skin is remarkably clear; Pinsent is quite craggy) occasionally feel indulgent Polley has a knack for using light and landscape to evoke the essence of her subject matter: love marriage and loss. It helps that she had good source material to work from; the movie is based on acclaimed author Alice Munro's short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain." For a first-time feature Away From Her is impressively assured tackling tough topics with sensitivity empathy and the confidence of experience.
November 27, 2002 11:37am EST
Nicolas Cage has filed for divorce from Lisa Marie Presley after three months of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences, Entertainment Tonight reported Tuesday. The couple, who wed in Hawaii on Aug. 10, attended the screening of Cage's latest film Adaptation this past weekend. Responding to the divorce filing, Presley issued a statement to ET through her spokesperson, saying, "I'm sad about this but we shouldn't have been married in the first place. It was a big mistake." In turn, Cage told ET through a spokesperson, "I did not talk about the marriage and I'm not going to talk about the divorce." Cage, 38, was formerly married to actress Patricia Arquette while Presley, 34, was previously married to musician Danny Keough and pop oddity Michael Jackson.
A Georgia judge denied a motion Monday to drop charges against singer Bobby Brown stemming from a 1996 traffic stop, Reuters reports. The charges resurfaced when Brown was arrested two weeks ago in Atlanta and charged with possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, speeding and having no driver's license or proof of insurance. Brown, who appeared in court with his pop star wife Whitney Houston at his side, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 21 and remains free on bond.
Jackass star Johnny Knoxville expressed sympathy to the family of a teen who died last week in a stunt possibly inspired by the TV show. "We've done everything we can to prevent this type of thing from happening," he told The Knoxville News-Sentinel Monday. "We don't take submissions. We never have. We have warnings at the beginning and the end. In every interview I have ever given, I have stressed: 'Don't try this at home.' We steer away from stunts that are easily imitable."
Tennis champ Pete Sampras and his wife, actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, have announced the birth of their first child, Reuters reports. A message on Sampras's official Web site says, "Congratulations to Pete and Bridgette on the new addition to their family: Christian Charles Sampras."
Animal rights activists said Monday that Italian model and animal rights defender Fabio demanded that Sam's Club retail chain pull its "Fabio Collection" of women's apparel when he found out some of the coats had fur collars. But Fabio's manager Eric Ashenberg told Reuters,"There's no flap. He was showcasing the line of apparel in Chicago and New Jersey the last two weeks and in any collection there are different styles." Turns out it was just a tryout for a nationwide collection next year. Added Ashenberg, "Based on Fabio's feelings, the collection will have no fur."
Britney Spears's Manhattan restaurant Nyla, which opened last June, has undergone a menu overhaul, the New York Post reports. Cajun-inspired dishes like fried okra and Southern sushi have been replaced with continental cuisine with an Italian flair, but says Time Out New York's restaurant critic Reed Tucker, the new Nyla is not unlike the old Nyla--"another bad Midtown New York restaurant that just [happens] to be owned by Britney Spears." The eatery is named for two of the pop singer's favorite places--"NY" for New York and "LA" for Louisiana.
Superior Court Judge Marilyn Hoffman refused to throw out a lawsuit Monday brought last year by the writer and director of The Exorcist, who accused Warner Bros., Turner Network Television and Turner Broadcasting System of cheating them out of profits. According to the AP, scribe William Peter Blatty and director William Friedkin allege that AOL Time Warner, which owns the three companies, sold the license to the 1973 horror film to TNT for $110,000 when it was worth three times that.
It's still business as usual for Steven Seagal, despite his break with former business partner Julius Nasso. According to Variety, Seagal has closed deals to star in a remake of the 1975 thriller The Yakuza and as a former Vietnam veteran in The Rescue. Both projects are set up at Warner Bros.-based Franchise Pictures.
Following the success of Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, Artisan Entertainment is bringing a second VeggieTales cartoon to the big screen, Variety reports. The Bob and Larry Movie, which revisits the computer-generated exploits of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, is set for a 2005 bow. The biblical backdrops of the VeggieTales franchise straight-to-video releases have made them a favorite with Christian audiences.
Leonardo DiCaprio may reunite with What's Eating Gilbert Grape director Lasse Hallstrom. According to Variety, Hallstrom has come on board to helm the A-bomb thriller Bombshell for Universal Pictures, which is eyeing DiCaprio as a potential starring lead. The film is based on former Moscow-based journalists Joseph Albright and Marcia Kunstel's novel Bombshell: The Secret Story of America's Unknown Atomic Spy Conspiracy.