“Still Mine” (2013)
Based on a true story, Craig (James Cromwell) and Irene (Genevieve Bujold) have been happily married for a very long time on their family farm. Craig realizes that they can’t keep living in their primitive, two-story house much longer. Irene is starting to show signs of Alzheimer’s and isn’t able to get around the house as she once did. Craig decides to build on his own much smaller house, designed so that his wife can continue to live on the farm.
So Craig starts building his house on his land, just as his father taught him many years ago. But these are different times and soon Craig, used to doing things on his own terms, learns that he must follow the town of New Brunswick building codes in order to continue. At every turn, Craig is given new obstacles to overcome, but he is determined to build the house for the wife that he desperately loves, even if it means taking on the city council and zoning commission.
Craig is a stubborn, set in his ways type of man, who doesn’t have the warmest of relationships with his own grown children. Director/writer Michael McGowan does an excellent job of letting the audience slowly get to know Craig, so that by the end of the film you respect and admire the man and what he is trying to do. I also liked the scenes of showing us a hallway door that has the marks for their children’s height’s as they grew up or the close-ups of the furniture that Craig has created. The house is filled with the history of their lives and so we see that building this new house isn’t something to be taken lightly.
The heart of the film is James Cromwell as he gives a moving and powerful performance. Cromwell has become one of cinemas most dependable actors, and he doesn’t let the audience down one bit in this demanding role. It’s the loving relationship with his wife, where Cromwell really shines, showing us a depth and warmth to his character that Craig allows to come out only around his wife. Bujold plays off of Cromwell with an ease that you really believe that these two people have been living together for a very long time. The scenes where they reminisce over their life together are especially touching because we know that those few moments when Irene is thinking clearly are few and far between.
I liked the supporting cast in this film, especially Rick Roberts and Julie Stewart, who play two of Craig’s grown children. Both characters are a little worn around the edges as if dealing with their stubborn father has put a few years on their age. Their interactions with their father give us an insight to his character, showing just how determined he can be. Campbell Scott does a fine job as the attorney that tries to help Craig with his battle the town council. There are also some enjoyable scenes that Craig has with his cantankerous neighbor, played by George R. Robertson. The good nature ribbing and insults that go on between the two friends brings some nice comic relief to the film.
This is a touching movie that makes you want to savor the moments you have with loved ones. It’s a film that celebrates one man’s devotion to his wife and the memories that they created together. My Rating: Bargain Matinee