Elderly couple Craig and Irene Morrison (James Cromwell, Genevieve Bujold) live on acreage in St Martins, New Brunswick. When Irene begins to show symptoms of memory loss and degeneration, Craig, an expert carpenter, decides to build a smaller, one level house on another part of their property as their final home, but comes up against the bureaucracy of new regulations and licences required by the local authorities. (Based on a true story.)
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A David and Goliath story of the geriatric set, Still Mine is a sentimental but thanks to James Cromwell's performance an engaging story of love, devotion and determination. The Morrisons have seven children and are living their retirement days in their rural property at St Martins, a seaport in New Brunswick. Craig is 87 when he begins to build a smaller, easier to manage house on a piece of his land overlooking a lake. It's to accommodate he and his sickly wife Irene (Genevieve Bujold) who is adamant she will not go into a nursing home.
This is a familiar theme in recent movies that deal with ageing, death, memory loss and the whole catastrophe; there were 14 released in Australia last year (2012) as we reported in December in our feature, Coming of Aged. (And a week after this film's theatrical release comes A Lady in Paris, with 85 year old Jeanne Moreau...) In many such films, the downside of ageing is balanced by the upside of deep seated, well-established love. Likewise in this gentle Canadian film which brings together the ever-watchable Cromwell and the long-time-no-see Bujold.
The story of their conflict with the local council over building regulations carries the film into dramatic territory, as the laws (introduced since Craig's retirement) seem to be conspiring to fleece them (via fees for applications and licences). This part of the story, based on real events, manages to irk us with the pettiness of red tape, and it gives Craig the chance to take a stand and give the film a heroic edge. All this is softened by Irene in increasingly fragile health and the family that cares and supports them. Well, the grown up children would rather put mum and dad in a home ... but come to accept that won't happen.
The end card offers us an extra little uplift, which serves to encourage old folk to also take a stand. With or without walking frames ...
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STILL MINE (PG)
CAST: James Cromwell, Genevieve Bujold, Campbell Scott, Julie Stewart, Rick Roberts, George R. Robertson, Barbara Gordon, Zachary Bennett
PRODUCER: Michael McGowan, Jody Colero, Tamara Deverell, Avi Federgreen
DIRECTOR: Michael McGowan
SCRIPT: Michael McGowan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brendan Steacy
EDITOR: Roderick Deogrades
MUSIC: Hugh Marsh, Don Rooke, Michelle Willis
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tamara Deverell
RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 6, 2013
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.