"Still Mine": Watching it Slip Away

True story: With his wife drifting off into dementia, an old feller up in northeast Canada wants to build a nice little house for the both of them to die in. He's got the land, the lumber, the skills, and even his own private sawmill, but no patience whatsoever for the red-tape runaround that threatens to shut his project down. "Seems like there's some kinda regulation for everything nowadays," he grouses. Well, permits be damned, he builds it anyway. The feller is played by James Cromwell, his wife by Geneviève Bujold, and thank goodness for them. Cromwell seems in his element, like a fresh slab of that lumber. He excels at frayed patience tinged with resignation. Whether it's the feller's truck breaking down or his wife, Cromwell calls up the perfect line reading: "Oh, Jesus. Really? Now?" Bujold, meanwhile, manages to convey both the creeping affliction and the whole back-story of their relationship even when not saying anything. They're each a boon to this soft, quiet picture from writer-director Michael McGowan, whose only other distinction is not wavering from quiet softness. Rather pleased with its taciturnity, this is still some pretty corny stuff — all chambray shirts and gingerly diffused lighting, with practically every other line delivered like a Werther's Original slipped inside a geriatric cheek: Now take a beat and let that rich sentimental sweetness just sink in. Also with Campbell Scott as the feller's lawyer.

 
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