STILL MINE written and directed by Michael McGowan, with James Cromwell, Geneviève Bujold, Rick Roberts and Julie Stewart. A Mongrel Media release. 103 minutes. Opens Friday (May 3). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
After the debacle of Score: A Hockey Musical, writer/director Michael McGowan returns to the territory he mined in Saint Ralph and One Week, focusing on another flawed hero who sets himself a near-impossible challenge in the face of a devastating illness.
It's the true story of New Brunswick senior Craig Morrison (James Cromwell), who started building a bungalow for himself and his wife, Irene (Geneviève Bujold), when her worsening Alzheimer's made their two-storey home too dangerous - and quickly found that his DIY approach didn't sit well with government inspectors.
McGowan's basically made the Canadian answer to Michael Haneke's Amour, presenting Irene's deterioration as inconvenient rather than horrific. Instead of digging into the psychology of a man staring down his wife's inevitable death as well as his own, he's portrayed Craig's irascibility and disdain for filing plans and obeying codes as signs of grit and gumption. ("Seems like there's a regulation for everything these days," he huffs at one point.)
Cromwell and Bujold are both excellent - and nicely paired as a couple who've been together their entire adult lives - but these tremendous talents are still starring in a feel-good movie about Alzheimer's.