Sunday, February 10, 2008

Away From Her

There's a fire crackling on one side, and a glass of wine on the other. I'm listening to Adele and watching the wind whip another layer of snow onto the heaps already piled outside the door. Winter up north is a different thing. It becomes pretty and scenic, the first many meters of Georgian Bay frozen solid, waves crashing beyond for miles to a fuzzy, grey horizon. Somehow bare trees aren't so desperate and icy windows shine romantically. Every chance we get to cozy-up at the cottage is a dream. Complete with wireless internet and most other creature comforts, it's not so much a cottage, but it's away, and it's quiet, and it's nowhere near anything taller than two storeys.

Jeff is reading in the living room, his wine glass in desperate need of refilling. He appears every once in a while to stoke the fire (that's his department, you see; I'm in charge of other things, like the grilled cheese sandwiches we had for lunch, music, and the empty glass beside him.) Happy in our roles, enjoying our separate togetherness.

We finished watching Sarah Polley's directorial debut, Away From Her, starring Canadian great, Gordon Pinsent and the astounding Julie Christie. Not only do these two characters, Grant and Fiona, love each other deeply, they also happen to spend much of the movie at the cottage. It might be why I'm thinking so much about the man in the other room, his wine glass now full, his pages turning at an ever-decreasing speed.

Heartbreaking and quiet, Away From Her is a story about grief and the distance between two people. It's about compromise and partnership and self-sacrifice. It's a perfect snapshot of an imperfect marriage, like when Fiona so beautifully wonders why anyone would want "to be in love every single day. What a liability!" I won't tell you too much, I'd prefer you watch the movie, but suffice it to say, we spent two hours crying and marveling at Kristen Thomson's Kristy.

We'll start thinking about dinner soon. Salmon and carrots, potatoes perhaps. But that's my department. We'll have more of this so-so wine, continue to digest this movie, prepare to watch another. Happily cocooned, no longer able to see the snow out there in the dark.

Jeff's book is now resting in his lap, one of his power-catnaps in progress. I can't imagine where else I'd want to be right now.


  1. Ahh, the cottage. I miss my Grandmother's on Lake Simcoe almost daily. And you're right; Away From Her was really a marvel. Sad and beautiful.

  2. Okay, how romantic was this!?!!? I love the notion of 'separate togetherness' - that's my dream.

    I've had a gift copy of 'Away From Her' sitting on my DVD player for 18 months - you've convinced me that I need to get on that. Like, now.

  3. Your text is a perfect snapshot of a perfect mood. Added Away From Her to my list (I am so late to the party on these things. It's really sad.)

  4. Thanks, Suzanne!
    Such a great film.

  5. A) I still haven't seen this movie thought it's been recommended by many
    B) Everything about this entry is made more beautiful by the fact that I know you and Jeff. In person. Makes the scene-setting used here a million times more personal and sweet.
    C) You must be sick of me commenting. It's hard to not have a response to each entry because I feel like there are all these topics that you explore that are interesting and CONVERSATIONAL but I didn't know you (almost) five years ago so we have catching up to do! ;) But I promise... I will attempt to Slow. My. Roll.