Still Mine (2013)
Critic Consensus: James Cromwell and Geneviève Bujold are outstanding in this tender, affecting, insightful drama about the bonds and sacrifices of marriage.
In his first lead role after decades of playing supporting characters, James Cromwell gives a tour de force performance in STILL MINE, an exquisitely crafted and deeply affecting love story about a couple in their twilight years. Based on true events and laced with wry humor, STILL MINE tells the heartfelt tale of Craig Morrison (Academy Award (R) nominee Cromwell), who comes up against the system when he sets out to build a more suitable house for his ailing wife Irene (Academy Award (R) nominee Geneviève Bujold). Although Morrison uses the same methods his father, an accomplished shipbuilder, taught him, times have changed. He quickly gets blindsided by local building codes and bureaucratic officials. As Irene becomes increasingly ill - and amidst a series of stop-work orders - Craig races to finish the house. Hauled into court and facing jail, Craig takes a final stance against all odds in a truly inspirational story. (c) Samuel Goldwyn … More
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as Irene Morrison
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Critic Reviews for Still Mine
Growing old together can't be easy, but in this case, it's certainly beautiful.
Writer-director Michael McGowan covers all the bases here -- the long-standing romance between the aging couple, the hovering concerns of their son and daughter, the constant head-butting with the building inspector -- with well-paced confidence.
Writer-director Michael McGowan (Saint Ralph) shows affinity for the subtle undercurrents of a long, happy marriage, but the friction between Cromwell and the government bureaucracy stays one-note.
Bring a handkerchief, or possibly a bedsheet, to "Still Mine"; this fact-based, beautifully acted drama could wring tears from a brick.
Audience Reviews for Still Mine
This was unexpectedly gorgeous Canadian romantic drama which was originally released under the title Still at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Written and directed by Michael McGowan based on a true story, the film stars James Cromwell as Craig Morrison. His story is set in rural St. Martins, New Brunswick and he is a farmer living with a wife losing her memory. He decides to build a new house that caring for her can be more manageable but he has to battle a government bureaucrat (Jonathan Potts). The battle for the right to build a new house for his ailing wife Irene (Geneviève Bujold) is almost becoming ridiculous because the government keeps demanding compliance with the building laws without even checking the house... the certificats and stamps are more important than human life!
It is a warm story of a senior love with the realities of aging that falls right in the middle, no excess on sweetness. I think that most seniors and families affected by Alzheimer's will find much to identify with and to enjoy even more... I use to be a carer for a person affected by it and I know how frustrating could be, testing all boundaries.
It seems that the critics agree with me because the film garnered seven nominations at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Cromwell), Best Actress (Bujold), Best Original Screenplay (McGowan), Best Cinematography (Brendan Steacy), Best Editing (Roderick Deogrades) and Best Original Score (Hugh Marsh, Don Rooke and Michelle Willis). Cromwell won the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
If you like good acting, true story with its ups and downs, and a real love between two people being together over 60 years, please check this film which is for everyone who doesn't believe in bureaucracy!
Or the First Fifteen Minutes of Up...
A movie about growing old and the struggle to hold on to your humanity. Director Michael McGowan is able to craft a story that feels real and the characters seem to grow organically. Nothing seems to happen simply because the story needs it to, but because the characters are reacting to situations in a realistic manner. All of these characters seem to be completely fleshed out and have real motivations for why they behave the way they do.
This is partially from McGowan's excellent direction and patience, but also due to fantastic performances from Cromwell and Bujold. These veteran actors know how to subtly portray a character's emotions and motivations. Instead of having loud screaming matches, although there are one or two, most of the time McGowan allows Cromwell and Bujold space to portray their characters in quiet spaces.
There's breathing room in this film, and it pays off in huge dividends by the end of the film. You are rooting for these characters, and that's how McGowan is able to talk about things that are bigger than just housing codes. The film is about how aging feels like you're losing control of everything in your life. It's a beautiful metaphor, and one that draws the audience in. We care about the house and we feel the injustice Craig is facing, but we don't realize we are being put in Craig's shoes as he's facing a bigger injustice, the loss of his wife's mind.
As we watch Craig lose control over his future, his wife is losing control of herself, and he feels like he's losing her. It's tragic, but it also is hopeful. None of us want to be in Craig or Irene's situation, but if we find ourselves there, we want to handle it like they are. With dignity and grace, even if that dignity and grace is found fighting to survive. They will never give up on one another, and we want the same for us and our own spouses.
It's a beautiful film.
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