I’ve been a Sarah Polley fan ever since she played Ramona Quimby in the late-’80s TV series based on the Beverly Cleary character. Then she stole the screen in two excellent Atom Egoyan films, Exotica (1994), which also stars Mia Kirshner, and The Sweet Hereafter (1997), in which she captivates not only with inspired acting but with haunting vocals for the film’s soundtrack.
And even if I didn’t already adore her for her performance talent and her penchant for gritty and subtly off-kilter roles, it’s hard not to be charmed by her precocious and progressive political activism, which started when she was a pre-teen.
Now Polley, who just turned 28, has directed a film that will screen next week at Sundance. Away From Her stars Julie Christie as a woman with Alzheimer’s disease who falls for a fellow patient in her nursing home, and is based on Alice Munro’s short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain.” Polley already has a Genie for her performance in My Life Without Me , and some say this directorial debut (at least for a feature film) has her headed for an Oscar.