Call it “Amour” on the farm or “Away From Her” with power tools, but either way, writer-director Michael McGowan’s “Still Mine” offers a strong and dignified look at growing old while maintaining one’s long-held convictions.
The estimable James Cromwell splendidly anchors this tender, true-life tale of Craig Morrison, an elderly New Brunswick, Canada, farmer hellbent on personally building a new house for his Alzheimer’s-afflicted wife despite scads of bureaucratic red tape threatening to shut him down.
How Morrison (Cromwell) persists as if his life — and the life of his beloved Irene (Geneviève Bujold) — depends upon it (which, in some ways, it essentially does) drives the story, which is framed by the legal hearing that could land Craig in jail for defying a series of stop-work orders. Though initially a bit poky, the film gains steam as Morrison, with input from his children (Rick Roberts, Julie Stewart), best frenemy (George R. Robertson) and equitable lawyer (Campbell Scott), battles the relatably maddening obstacles in his way.
But it’s the intimate moments between Craig and Irene, be they of reverie, passion, devotion or frustration, that truly elevate this beautifully shot picture. Cromwell and Bujold, while significantly younger than their late-80s characters (though the petite Bujold, with her flowing white hair and lived-in skin, more visually fills the bill), inhabit their roles with nobility, grace and the wisdom of age.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief sensuality/partial nudity.
Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes.
Playing: At the Landmark, West Los Angeles; Edwards’ Westpark 8, Irvine.