Susan Granger's review of 'Still Mine'
Based on a true story, this touching, extraordinarily told tale of devotion speaks to both the heart and the mind. Joining the ranks of "Away From Her," "Quartet" and "Amour," it revolves around the vicissitudes of aging.
Set in rural St. Martins, New Brunswick in Canada's Maritime Provinces, it centers on Craig Morrison (James Cromwell), an 89-year-old cattle rancher who realizes that his beloved wife Irene (Genevieve Bujold) is growing frailer by the day and is now unable to cope with living in their old, two-story farmhouse, where they raised seven children. To care for her properly, he starts to build a smaller, more suitable and comfortable cottage nearby -- on part of the 2,000 acres he owns, overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Although he was trained as a carpenter by his accomplished shipbuilding father and he mills his own old-growth spruce, Morrison gets blindsided by an overzealous local bureaucrat (Jonathan Potts). Accused of 26 alleged "violations" of the new national building code, he must appear before a judge to plead his case, which he illustrates by alluding to a treasured baseball, signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
In a meticulously crafted, tour-de-force performance, guided by Toronto-based writer/director Michael McGowan, Cromwell -- best known as the farmer in "Babe" -- exhibits an irresistible mixture of insight and tender uncertainty, depicting Morrison's dilemma with fluid precision, while Bujold's emotional vulnerability wraps around your heart. Not often seen on screen since she made "Anne of a Thousand Days," Bujold is a brilliant French-Canadian actress. In supporting roles, Campbell Scott, George R. Robertson, Julie Stewart and Rick Roberts deliver memorable performances.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Still Mine" is a sentimental, inspirational 7, concluding on a note of optimism.