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Critics Can’t Keep Away From Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley is having a kickass month as her debut directorial feature, Away From Her, racks up the accolades. On Sunday, the Los Angeles film critics gave Polley a New Generation Award for up-and-coming directors. Then, on Monday, the New York film critics felt Away From Her was 2007′s Best First Film. In addition, earlier this month Polley was named one of the “50 Smartest People in Hollywood” by Entertainment Weekly. She’s the youngest person on the list at age 28 and one of the few Canadians. (Titanic director James Cameron and former eBay president-turned-film producer Jeff Skoll also made the list.)
Away From Her is an adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story “The Bear Came Over The Mountain.” The story involves an elderly couple, Grant and Fiona, who are torn apart when Fiona develops Alzheimer’s and during treatment forgets Grant and falls for another man. Polley’s smart, mature take on the story received universal critical acclaim when it was released last May, but the film grossed less than $5 million in North America (and got trampled on by the bloat-fest Spiderman 3). Hopefully the critical attention will get people to check out the film on DVD. Sarah Polley will next be seen back in front of the camera as First Daughter Abigail “Nabby” Adams in the HBO television miniseries John Adams.
Photo from the Away From Her website.


  • Neil Epstein

    I’ve loved her ever since The Sweet Hereafter

  • Jaime Woo

    She’s amazing in that she can even be in fluff like the Dawn of the Dead remake and make it work. It’s coincidental that my post is before the “Top Ten” post as Away From Her made last year’s list.

  • WannaBinToranna

    I fell in love with her in “Beowulf and Grendel”,the Canadian production, with gerard Butler, not that Angelina Jolie crap. Glad to see she’s doing well.

  • Marc Lostracco

    Jaime: I believe she says she took Dawn of the Dead (which was great, IMO) in order to be able to take the indie flicks and work on her own. I love her because she’s such a political activist bad-ass and has always been loyal to Toronto, even at the potential expense of her career.
    I saw Away From Her at TIFF 2006, and it will break the heart of anyone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia in their families.

  • djacobs

    @nepsi me too.

  • rek

    Away From Her was nominated in the Best Actress category this morning for the Golden Globes. I think. I had CP24 on while making breakfast.

  • Jaime Woo

    Marc: Dawn is definitely a better horror movie than most–I’m looking at you, Resident Evil series. What’s great about Sarah Polley is that she can do a film like that and ground it in reality. (I think Cillian Murphy did a similar thing for 28 Days Later.) I think like Janet Leigh or Mia Farrow, Sarah Polley is a great actress that can take a genre film to the next level.

  • rek

    The first 15 minutes of Dawn are spectacular, certainly.

  • Solex

    You mean, ‘Critics can’t shut up about Sarah Polley’ don’t you? because that’s all they can fracking talk about.
    Sorry, but I’d rather watch Spider-Man III over again than watch any of these Canadian movies, especially this one; I already have a mother who has Alzheimer’s and I know what it’s like to deal with it. No critically overhyped movie can tell me more about it.
    I wish that Canadian movie makers would take the rest of us who don’t give a shit about kitchen sink melodrama some consideration and create some comedies, action movies, or fantasy/sci-fi-maybe then more Canadians would watch Canadian movies, instead of only seeing American ones. We have a SFX industry, don’t we? Let’s make some movies that can compete with those genres instead of the same thing all the time
    And as for the CGI Beowulf being shit? Hey, it’s raking in both the bucks and the critical acclaim: let’s see this movie top that. Oh wait, it didn’t!

  • Jaime Woo

    @solex: Did you see “Away From Her?” It’s hard to judge a film as overhyped without seeing it. I felt she understood the challenges of Alzheimer’s without turning it into a Lifetime movie. But I have a close family member with Alzheimer’s too, so maybe that made me appreciate the film more.
    There were a few attempts at mainstream movies, such as Bulletproof, Men with Brooms, Breakfast with Scot, and that Canadian road-trip movie I can’t remember. Canadians outside of Quebec just don’t go to Canadian movies for some reason.