Still Mine

August 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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A caveat: it was hard to watch this film without unfairly comparing it to last year’s brilliant “Amour.”  Fortunately, my friend and fellow attendee was able to help me shift my perspective.  This is not to say I did not like the film initially; I actually loved it through out.  Rather, I had been evaluating it through the wrong lens.  The movie covers the true story of Craig and Irene Morrison, a couple living off the Bay of Fundy on the Maine/Canadian border. They have been married 61 years and Irene now has Alzheimer’s and is beginning to fade away.  Craig decides to build a new 1 bedroom house for her on their property, until a local letter-of-the-law building inspector attempts to stop him.  This a very traditional story arch with heroes, villains, colorful personalities and a fair dose of sentiment.  As such, I was tempted to see this as a love story, much like “Amour” (though much less dark), that follows a couple at the end of their lives.  It is that to a degree and the love between Craig and Irene is beautifully and gently portrayed by veteran actors James Cromwell (“Babe,” “LA Confidential,” this recent season of “American Horror Story”) and Geneviève Bujold (“Anne of the Thousand Days,” “Dead Ringers,” “The House of Yes”).  Their dynamic is a pure pleasure to watch and they light up the screen together. However, this is primarily Craig’s film. He is the star and this is the story of the softening of his 87 year old heart. He is initially angry and quick tempered around Irene’s illness and he is stubbornly defiant toward the housing board.  By the end, he is accepting of whatever fate has for him and infinitely patient with his wife.  These changes are not broadcast loudly, in fact they are very subtly portrayed but they are there.  At one point, Craig talks about the polishing down of an old table; it’s a beautiful metaphor for who he is.  This is truly a lovely movie about lovely people portrayed lovingly by two incredibly skilled actors.  It is not a punch in the stomach like “Amour.”  It is more of a warm hug; one you don’t want to leave.

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