NEVER STEADY, NEVER STILL DISC D: Kathleen Hepburn. Canada. 110 min. Sep 9, 12:45 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Sep 11, 9:15 pm, Scotiabank 9. Rating: NNNN
The small, exquisite moments hit hard in Hepburn’s feature debut about a family coping with tragedy while living in isolation. Shirley Henderson is wrenching as Judy, a mother living with Parkinson’s disease, fighting to function independently after her husband’s death. Her son Jamie (Théodore Pellerin, also terrific) struggles with his sexuality and identity while working in an Alberta oil field, a brutal environment.
Their stories feel separate but complement each other in a way that’s a tad on the nose. Hepburn makes it work because she’s interested in more than the schematics. Each character, and their every exchange, feels lived-in, rich and poetic.
Wait for the mumbling, awkward sexual encounter in a pickup truck. No one gets off, but it’s cathartic.