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Away From Her

Screenwriter: Sarah Polley

Distrib/release date: Lionsgate/May 4

Storyline: An elderly couple goes through a difficult period when wife Fiona (Julie Christie) begins to develop Alzheimer’s. Her husband, Grant (Gordon Pinsent), feels he can’t care for her effectively at home anymore and brings her to an assisted-living facility, where she develops a relationship with another patient.

About the script: “I found it completely joyful to write,” Polley says. “It didn’t feel like a normal torturous experience, which is often the case when you’re writing a screenplay. At the time, I was spending time in a retirement home with my grandmother, who was 94. I wanted to capture the moments from that environment.”

Biggest challenge: “I didn’t want to simplify what the story was about. It’s complicated, and you have to digest it and deal with their emotional experience. It was difficult finding the balance between not simplifying it and keeping it available to people. I wanted to make it feel like a piece of literature.”

Breakthrough idea: “I was in a constant state of wondering what my intentions were, but I never had a eureka moment. I was living in the world of the story.”

Choice lines: “I don’t think we look for something we like here, Grant. I don’t think we’ll ever find it. I think all we can aspire to in this situation is a little bit of grace.”

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