The horror of the onset of Alzheimer’s is only one of the problems the main character of Michael McGowan’s Still Mine must deal with in this small but curiously involving and quite moving drama which based on a true story. Made on an obviously restricted budget and with a small but talented cast, the film captures in its own miniaturized way the rigors and challenges of old age as well as such celebrated movies as On Golden Pond or Amour.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Run Time: 1 Hr. 43 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraVioletkeep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 05/06/2014
Octogenarian Canadian couple Craig Morrison (James Cromwell) and his wife Irene (Geneviève Bujold) are fiercely independent choosing to do things on their own instead of asking for help from any of their seven children. With Irene’s memory becoming more and more tenuous and her illness leading to a series of household accidents, Craig realizes they’ve got to move to smaller quarters so he can better manage household duties and Irene won’t have to attempt to manipulate stairs. An expert carpenter, Craig is dismayed to learn of the enormous amounts of legal red tape that are necessary to build a small house on his own land, and when he tries to circumvent some of those petty regulations, bureaucratic hardliner Rick Daigle (Jonathan Potts) digs in his heels and refuses to compromise at all despite the obvious excellence of Craig’s initial work. The frustrating duality of dealing with both his wife’s failing memory and governmental interference drives Craig practically to the breaking point.
The Production Rating: 4/5
Writer-director Michael McGowan doesn’t quite work out the details about why the Morrisons’ children, especially a son (Rick Roberts), daughter (Julie Stewart), and grandson (Zachary Bennett) who live in the region, don’t take a more active role in caregiving when it’s obvious Irene is becoming a danger to herself and her husband, but given their independence and ornery dispositions at any interference no matter the feeling behind it, one can choose to ignore that little chink in the storytelling. The bureaucratic malarkey that Craig is continually facing will raise the ire of most viewers, and while we do get to hear some of his appeal in his inevitable court case, we’re frustratingly denied the judge’s ruling in court and must see only a headline in the newspaper afterward. While director McGowan keeps shots in tight close-ups for a good bit of the film (giving it a made-for-TV movie quality), there are occasional shots of the Morrisons’ acreage that capture nature’s beauty, and there’s a neat segue between fall and winter to denote passage of time for the film and for the aged couple.
James Cromwell’s flinty, fierce performance is certainly the film’s prime reason for existence, and he’s matched by the wonderfully expressive work of Geneviève Bujold wonderfully capturing the onset of her Alzheimer’s. Neither actor is afraid of stripping and showing their bodies careworn and sagging from years of labor and yet still exciting for the couple whose love for one another remains ferociously passionate and sexual. Julie Stewart proves to be her mother’s daughter in a likewise starchy and assertive performance as she tries to reason with her cantankerous parents. Zachary Bennett’s grandson Jeff uses the opposite approach, as easygoing and affectionate to his grandfather as he can be in a gracious turn that makes one wish his part had been expanded. As the hard and fast building inspector, Jonathan Potts makes a fine case as the film’s nominal villain, and George R. Robertson as a busybody neighbor who’s always lecturing Craig on his risk taking adds some spice to the story and figures prominently in one of the film’s more moving scenes near the end.
The film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully reproduced in 1080p using the AVC codec. Apart from a few occasional soft shots, sharpness is first-rate with close-ups revealing lots of detail in facial features and the textures in hair and clothing. Color is rich and nicely sustained with believable skin tones throughout. Contrast is evenly maintained, and black levels are just fine. The film has been divided into 32 chapters.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix offers an effective if not especially expansive music score by Hugh Marsh, Don Rooke and Michelle Willis. There are some ambient effects in the fronts and rears through much of the sound design favors the front channels. Dialogue has been excellently recorded and has been placed in the center channel.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Apart from promo trailers for Great Expectations, Cowgirls ‘n Angels 2, and The Ultimate Life, there are no bonus features on the disc.
Special Features Rating: 0/5
Ultraviolet: code sheet enclosed in the case.
A small but very effective true story of caring and conflict for the older generation, Still Mine makes its points specifically and well, and the Blu-ray release offers outstanding picture and sound reproduction even if a few bonus features might have been welcome. Recommended!
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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