28. "Away From Her"
Release date: May 4, 2007; Director: Sarah Polley; Cast: Gordon Pinsent, Julie Christie
Polley's wildly assured directorial debut—the actress was only 28 when she helmed this adaptation of an Alice Munro short story—follows an aging woman succumbing to the ravages of Alzheimer's. But if there's something the film challenges us never to forget, it's the incandescent grace and gravitas of Christie. As the slowly ailing Fiona, Christie reminds us why she's one of the cinema's great living icons, delivering an exquisite performance that's tender but unsentimental, wry but sensual—a woman helplessly dissolving unto herself while her devoted, suffering husband (Pinsent) can only watch. Does love disappear when memory betrays us? The answer, in this hushed, eloquent film, is both painful and poignant. —AL