However great Julie Christie might be, she's not generally regarded as a tragedienne. Yet after seeing this wonderful adaptation of Alice Munro's story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain," I began to think of Christie's roles in Petulia (1968) and McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) as way stations toward this career-defining performance. She plays a stylish woman in a successful 44-year marriage who struggles to keep her dignity after finding herself afflicted with Alzheimer's. The other leads (Michael Murphy, Olympia Dukakis, and Gordon Pinsent as Christie's husband) are fine as well, but it's Christie who places this powerful love story about the cruelties of aging within hailing distance of Leo McCarey's sublime Make Way for Tomorrow. This is a film I expect to be carrying around with me for quite some time. Canadian actress Sarah Polley wrote and directed, in her feature debut. 110 min. Reviewed by J.R. Jones this week in Section 1. a Landmark's Century Centre.

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