Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Canada, 2006. Foundry Films, Capri Releasing, HanWay Films, Echo Lake Entertainment, Telefilm Canada, Canadian Television Fund, The Movie Network, Super Ecran, Astral Media, Ontario Media Development Corporation, Movie Central, Corus, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, The Film Farm, Hollydan Works, Pulling Focus Pictures. Screenplay by Sarah Polley, based on the short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain by Alice Munro. Cinematography by Luc Montpellier. Produced by Daniel Iron, Simone Urdl, Jennifer Weiss. Music by Jonathan Goldsmith. Production Design by Kathleen Climie. Costume Design by Debra Hanson. Film Editing by David Wharnsby.
Actress Sarah Polley makes her directorial debut with this poignant adaptation of Alice Munro’s story The Bear Came Over The Mountain. Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie play a four-decades married couple whose relationship unravels when the symptoms of her Alzheimers disease begin to appear with a vengeance. He is eventually forced to place her in a care facility and must be separated from her for a month, returning to visit and finding that she has forgotten him and has begun a relationship with one of her fellow residents (Michael Murphy). Pinsent tries to get Christie back into their former intimacy but eventually has to face the choice of either holding on to her or letting her be happy.
Despite a flat, unappealing look and a bit of a sagging plot in the last third, the film is an emotionally strong work blistering with beautiful, poetic moments and some incredible performances. Christie is especially powerful, always subtle and fully believable without ever pushing it too far, while Pinsent is very strong in a role that is more one-note than he deserves for it to be.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Actress (Julie Christie); Best Adapted Screenplay
Golden Globe Award: Best Actress-Drama (Julie Christie)
Screen Actors Guild Award: Best Actress (Julie Christie)
Toronto International Film Festival: 2006