Away from Her, Van Helsing, Beasts of the Southern Wild: films on TV today

The past is a foreign country for Julie Christie, Hugh Jackman in a monster mash-up, and things get stormy down on the bayou: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY 
Away from Her ★★★★
11.45pm-1.30am BBC1 

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Previously best known as an actor (The Claim, Dawn of the Dead), Sarah Polley won plaudits last year for her revealing autobiographical documentary Stories We Tell. This, her directorial debut, is no less raw and affecting, but fictional. An adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story The Bear Came over the Mountain, it earned Oscar nominations for Polley’s careful screenplay and Julie Christie’s exceptional, layered portrayal of an Ontario wife succumbing to Alzheimer’s. She checks herself into a nursing home to the alarm of her patient, loving husband, Gordon Pinsent. Honest and moving, the film boasts a chilly, snowbound setting that adds to its sense of isolation and Michael Murphy is incredible as Christie’s “coping partner” at the home.


Van Helsing ★★★
9.00-11.40pm Film Four 

Hugh Jackman heads down Transylvania way to help gypsy girl Kate Beckinsale in her battle against Count Dracula, but discovers he has more than one foe to deal with.


Mercury Rising ★★★
11.10pm-1.25am ITV4

Bruce Willis is the FBI agent (a bit of a maverick, apparently) called upon to protect a nine-year-old autistic boy who has become a target of crooked agents after cracking a top security code.


The Truth about Cats and Dogs ★★★★
11.20pm-1.15am Movie Mix 

Uma Thurman is the eye candy sent along as a substitute by insecure talk show veterinarian Janeane Garofalo  when she sets up a blind date with a listener. Complications of the heart ensue.


Beasts of the Southern Wild ★★★★
11.40pm-1.30am Film Four 

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Six-year-old Quvenzhanea Wallis’s fierce, cute and Oscar-nominated performance is just one of the standouts in this atmospheric drama set in the steamy bayou below New Orleans.