Away from Her

Book vs. Movie

Away From Her (book)    Away From Her (movie)

The real title of the short story that this movie was based on is called “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” by Alice Munro.  That’s right, it isn’t even a book but a story of less than a hundred pages.  How did the film, directed by fellow Canadian Sarah Polley, fare?  First off, making a motion picture from a short tale is never quite easy because there is less material to work with.  Think back to my other posts which focus on movies made from children’s books.  That being said, there were scenes added which were not mentioned in the story and a critical detail was brought up in the film, which I thought was interesting.  In the story, Grant and Fiona have shared many years as husband and wife, despite the fact that he slept with plenty of other women during their marriage.  He mentions this without any real remorse and there is no indication that Fiona even knows about his infidelity.  In the film, however, Fiona decides to bring up her memory (before it becomes completely vague) about her knowledge of Grant’s loose affairs with his students, mentioning that she still decided to stay with him because she knew he could not help himself.  This information is pertinent to how Grant feels in the movie because after Fiona is admitted to the care facility, he starts to wonder at one point, whether Fiona is acting the way she is just to punish him for his past deeds.  Another difference is that Grant ends up having a relationship with Aubrey’s wife, Marion in the film version, whereas in the story, we are left to wonder if anything does happen between them.  The one thing the movie rendition did help with was getting to know Fiona a little better.  We get more attached to her character.  In Munro’s story, we are only familiar with Grant because the narrative is in his voice and we do not really see Fiona’s side of the story.  I did like the fact that the DVD ultimately ended the same way the story did.  Polley did a good job of delivering one couple’s hardship of Alzheimer’s Disease to the big screen.

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