Still Mine: A Movie Review

I have been watching the path of this movie for almost a year. I put it on my “watch for” list and never really gave up on it. I am glad to say it is now out on DVD and not just on Netflix, but in Redbox as well. StillMine_Poster

Still Mine is an amazing Canadian film. It originally came out with a very limited distribution in July 2013 but left the theaters very quickly. Now, sometimes we are tempted to say that when that happens the movie probably wasn’t that good or it would have had a blockbuster reception. I would be the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about the mystical ins and outs of film distribution, but I do know that some of the best movies I’ve ever seen never had an ad on TV.

Our stars both had their first lead roles in Still Mine. After decades of playing supporting characters the pair get to star in this exquisitely crafted and deeply affecting love story about a couple in their twilight years. Based on true events and laced with humor, Still Mine tells the heartfelt tale of Craig Morrison (Academy Award nominee, James Cromwell) who comes up against the system when he sets out to build a more suitable house for his ailing wife, Irene (also an Academy Award nominee Genevieve Bujold).

Somewhat “land poor,” Craig and Irene have raised their seven children in the same house on the same land. The house is literally falling down around them; it is old and hard to heat. Craig fells his own trees and cuts his own lumber and 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. He tries to comply but it seems that he is always behind the curve in process.

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 stand against all odds in a truly inspirational story.

Still Mine isn’t really about the battle against the government it’s about the grace and dignity of aging. Craig and Irene have been married for six decades and it’s about their desperate desire to lead the rest of their years in the privacy of their own home. Written and directed by Michael McGowan, he has been able to deliver a film with an uncommon straightforwardness. Still Mine is understated yet truthful.

Filmed in rural, St. Martins, New Brunswick, the scenery is breathtaking. The cast is phenomenal. When the film was over, I felt like I had spent the time sitting across the handmade kitchen table from Craig and Irene, not watching them on a screen.

I love this movie. If you are young and think you may not relate, get over it! Still Mine is beautifully written, exceptionally acted and truly about the best in all of us. In a time when couples give up on their marriages when things get a little tough, this couple has stayed true to their family and to each other year after year. I challenge you to rent it and see how life can be lived. As always, I welcome your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com