In the same way that not every novel should be made into a movie, not every true-life story warrants the big-screen treatment. Witness “Drawing Home,” a creaky recount of the relationship between affluent, New England-born painter Catharine Robb (Julie Lynn Mortensen) and her rural-Canadian artist husband, Peter Whyte (Juan Riedinger).
This sprawling biopic, directed by Markus Rupprecht, who co-wrote with Donna Logan, ticks off the highlights — and lowlights — of Catharine and Peter’s story, from their meeting in art school to their warm courtship and loving, if up-and-down marriage.
Unfortunately, the film, set from the 1920s to the ’60s, covers too long a stretch. The result: a sluggish and diffused portrait, one not helped by its frequent toggling between Catharine and Peter’s points of view and a timeline that turns a bit muddy. Catharine’s pre-Peter romance with John D. Rockefeller III (Jeff Gladstone) also feels cursory.
In addition, the Whytes’ work as artists gets lost in the shuffle as the movie’s second half veers into melodrama.
The filmmakers capably recreate a wide range of period detail on a limited budget, yet succeed best at capturing the gorgeous vistas of its Banff, Canada setting. (The movie was shot in 2011-12 in Alberta and Quebec.)
The dutiful cast includes Kate Mulgrew and Peter Strauss as Catharine’s parents, Rutger Hauer playing wildlife artist Carl Rungius, Kristin Griffith as the Robb family housekeeper, and Christian Campbell as Peter’s brother.
Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena