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Friday, 26 July 2013 00:00

'Still Mine' stays in the mind and heart

'Still Mine' stays in the mind and heart www.cinentreprise.com
Written by Diane Carson
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Based on a true story it faithfully follows, Canadian wrier/director Michael McGowan's "Still Mine" proves that a restrained love story of an elderly couple in conflict with bureaucracy can triumph. Eighty-seven-year-old Craig Morrison must face the fact that Irene, his wife of six decades and mother of their seven children, now exhibits memory problems.

After an accident on the stairs of their house, Craig decides to use his expertise to downsize and build for them a one-story home on their 2,000 acres with a view of the gorgeous Bay of Fundy. Craig has the timber he's cured, he long ago learned from his father to construct about anything, and he needs a time-consuming project. All's well until the local building inspector insists that Craig get a permit, have blueprints (currently only in Craig's head) approved, have his own milled lumber certified with a stamp, and bring everything up to code regarding 26 cited violations or he'll risk the partially completed structure being bulldozed. Craig's lawyer Gary gets involved as do one of Craig and Irene's sons, one of their daughters, a grandson, assorted friends and the local newspaper, the Telegraph Journal.

Anyone who ever has done battle with bureaucracy, and I think that must be most everyone, will respond to the conflict, handled with passion but without histrionics. Director McGowan and James Cromwell consulted with the real Craig Morrison, now 91 and a role model, as well as his family and Craig's lawyer. This results in a realistic and at times humorous portrayal of the couple's loss and grief as well as the commitment to their independence in the face of nonsensical rules of depersonalized institutions.

Performances don't come any better than James Cromwell as Craig Morrison and Geneviéve Bujold as Irene. In fact, Cromwell won the Canadian Film Best Actor award for his complex, fascinating portrayal and Bujold was nominated as Best Actress. "Still Mine" received, in all, seven Canadian film nominations and won the second place Audience Award for best narrative at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. It deserves all these acknowledgements. It is honest, memorable, beautiful and heart warming. At a Landmark Theatre.

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