& How to Watch Them:
Away From Her (2006): A moving look at what happens to a couple married for 40 years when one of them develops Alzheimer's. Which is to say it's kind of a bummer. And Polley casting America's sweetheart Julie Christie opposite, um, Canada's sweetheart Gordon Pinsent just twists the knife even further.
Take This Waltz (2011): Here at iheartfemaledirectors.com, the only thing we’re sure of is that we love movies about ambivalence. Even more so when they star Michelle Williams, screen princess of nuance. But don’t be mistaken – you’re not in for a moody subtlety party with this one, which also stars Seth Rogan as Michelle’s husband and Sarah Silverman as her troubled sister, Geraldine. And do you want to hear the best thing today? It’s streaming on Netflix now.
Stories We Tell (2012): A documentary about storytelling and family. That sounds vague, but you shouldn't learn more than that before you watch. Go in cold. Honestly, just trust our recommendations at this point.
Dearest Sarah Polley,
I don’t remember being floored by a movie like I was by your film Away From Her. Your exploration of lifelong, unconditional love and devotion moved me in a way that I still reference when thinking about love/regret/ forgiving/forgetting (c'mon do we ever really forget?) and what grief and loss can look like and how uncomfortable it can be to sit in the mess of things not being black and white. So you can imagine how I thought we could only go downhill from there, but then you go and make Take This Waltz, a movie about the complexities of marriage, and Stories We Tell, a doc about your own family secrets that you shared with world, and I thought you were trying to kill me. And you did. So now I'm a fucking ghost writing this. Thanks.
I love your curiosity about human behavior-- what motivates us to make the choices we make, what makes long term relationships work, and how we change within them. You capture so well the stillness, the quiet, the time in between… and you let your actors have the space and freedom to explore this. That snowshoeing scene in Away From Her when Fiona falls (surrenders) into the snow, and the freedom she feels in that, is an image I will never forget. You touch on something similar in Take This Waltz, how sometimes getting derailed or lost actually gets us where we are going in a more beautiful way than we could’ve ever imagined. Wait, I want to come back to the word devotion. Your country. Your political activism and your devotion to Canadian authors, actors, locations, musicians, etc, is truly inspiring. And so I am devoted to you until the end of time and waiting with bated breath to see what swoon-worthy thing you do next.