Away from Her

Kris Kringle has “a lover’s quarrel with the world” (Miracle on 34th Street, dir. George Seaton). Second childhood (The Return of the Soldier, dir. Alan Bridges, with Julie Christie). A rival (Last Tango in Paris, dir. Bernardo Bertolucci).

The botched production is Canada’s contribution to the digital film industry.

Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) could not see a plot, therefore “a heartbreaking masterpiece, has the courage to simply observe the devastation of the disease.”

A.O. Scott of the New York Times wrote, “I can’t remember the last time the movies yielded up a love story so painful, so tender and so true” (so Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune, “summoning us to radiance”), my italics as one might say.

Ella Taylor (Village Voice) was unsure about the ending, which may have been “another turn of the screw in a life without guarantees” (this comes of putting theaters in shopping malls, even the Academy Awards).

Marjorie Baumgarten (Austin Chronicle), “a phantom of a movie whose beautiful flakes”, do you mark that, reader, “fall into the deep crevices of memory long after the seasons change,” that’s prose with a vengeance.

It turned every critic into Jerry Springer for a day. Rene Rodriquez of the Miami Herald identified “the story’s themes—the nature of love, the role of sex in relationships and the ways in which we learn to make peace with our guilty consciences,” and said they “are relevant no matter what age you happen to be.” Many wrote “heartbreaking”, like Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, “heartbreaking elegy to mature love that honors the lovers and the long, neurodegenerative tango that is their last,” which at least takes note of the structure. Ty Burr (Boston Globe) topped them all, “the answer is both frightening and comforting: More love. Unspecified love. Universal love.”

Back home in Toronto, “a film rich in paradoxes” (Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail). Some divergence of views, “too romanticized” (Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor), and so on down the line.

Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian summons up a “Nietzschean maxim” and cavils about Vietnam, “just one false note”.

Time Out takes issue with “the resolution (of sorts)”, it’s “certainly less credible than the journey” (Dave Calhoun).