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FLICKS: Still Mine

Posted on 25 July 2013 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


I’ve been waiting seven months to write about Still Mine, a beautiful film that screened at the Miami International Film Festival and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Still Mine quietly rides the emotional roller coaster from sadness to joy with understated dignity.

Age is an abstraction, not a straight jacket,” says Craig Morrison (James Cromwell). In his 80s, Morrison proves this theory by living an independent life on his farm in Canada. His wife Irene (Genevieve Bujold) faces the onset of dementia. When she is injured in a fall, he decides to build an ergonomically friendly home on his own land.

Despite his knowledge and experience in construction, Morrison runs afoul government bureaucrats, upset that he is not pulling permits and waiting for building inspectors.

Still Mine, a universal story that echoes August Strindberg’s play An Enemy of the People and the writings of Thoreau, is also a love story that will attract Nicholas Sparks’ fans.

Based on a true story, writer-director Michael Mc- Gowan said of his film, “I didn’t want to sugar coat it, but I wanted authenticity. Craig is not a saint; but he was responsible for his own fate.”

Regarding Cromwell, Mc- Gowan said, “Collaborator, strong presence … made the film better, and we had no disagreement.”

Michael had my back,” Cromwell added.

This collaboration was never more apparent than a brief outdoor shower scene with Cromwell in the buff and the intimate love scene with costar Bujold, who was reluctant to do a nude scene.

McGowan said, “She changed her mind when she saw that the crew was not gawking during the shower scene. Her scene was shot towards the end of production and it was comfortable. On the day of the shoot, the scene was vulnerable and intimate; she understood that and embraced it. In the end, she was happy she did it.”

Cromwell was introduced to the public four decades ago in the television show, All in the Family and has worked steadily with 167 credits, including films like L.A. Confidential, The Green Mile, and Babe, a life-changing motion picture that earned Cromwell his only Oscar nomination thus far.

Cromwell said about Babe, “I did not want to do the film. The character only had 16 lines, but it was a trip to Australia.”

For those who have seen Babe with an audience, tears are shed when Cromwell’s Farmer Hoggett says, “That will do, pig; that will do.”

Cromwell said, “I never paid attention in the past; but, this time, I looked in the lens and I saw the reflection of this person. I looked at the pig and I looked up and saw my father. When I said the line, my Dad was talking to me.”

In many ways, Still Mine reconnected me with lessons from my father, lessons I recommend to Observer readers.

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