HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Still Mine
HTS Overall Score:72
“Still Mine” is one of those “man vs. THE MAN” type of stories that we all love. After 80 odd years of marital bliss and financial stability, Craig and Irene Morrison (played by James Cromwell and Genevieve Bujold) are finally coming to the point where they have to build a new house. Their lifelong house has seen better days and it was meant for a gigantic family, not a couple of elderly people. To make matters worse, Irene is starting to show signs of dementia, forgetting where she put something, gazing off into nothingness and then snapping back to reality, and in that condition, a giant two story house just isn't realistic. Thusly, Craig decides he might as well start building a smaller, more manageable house across the bay on part of his 2,000 acre plot.
Being the son of master ship builder, Craig knows his way around building and, by golly if he’s not going to build the entire thing by himself. The only problem is that he’s from a generation that’s all but been forgotten in this era of bureaucracy and red tape. Back 60 years ago people didn’t get a permit to blow their nose on their own property, they just acquired lumber and started building. In this case, being the son of a ship builder, Craig already has the know how and the experience to do so. The only thing that he needs is a permit. Puzzled as to WHY he needs a permit to build on his own land, Craig grumbles, whines and then gets the permit, only to be stopped midway because he doesn't have any architectural plans to satiate the building committee. Rolling his eyes and snorting, Craig goes ahead and starts his project. This is not the way to make friends with the building committee and soon enough Craig is being hammered with cease and desist orders, and every building code violation in the book. Mostly for incredibly ridiculous things like not having “stamped” lumber (even though Craig had milled the lumber himself out of the best trees on the land) and whatnot. Soon it’s nothing but a power struggle between the two forces. One stubborn old man, continuing with his build, and the town committee who seems determined on finding fault with his building, no matter what evidence is in their way.
“Still Mine” is a sweet story to watch. The romance between Craig and Irene is not your typical Hollywood romance, but a love that has aged 61 years of marriage and has become so comfortable, so grown into each other, that it’s hard to see where one person ends and the other begins. Watching the two of them was the highlight of the film. I enjoyed the drama between the building committee and Craig, but watching Genevieve and James Cromwell slip into their roles is like eating a warm homemade dinner from your mother. Every bite is peaceful and calming, reminding you of how you want to be when you grow old (and hopefully up). The two have weathered incredible storms together and the beauty and simplicity of their life is one those things that can’t be described in words, but has to be watched in order to understand how the two interact with each other.
Now I can truly relate to Craig. I’m one of those people who looks at my house and can turn to a buddy and say “You think we can do that?” “Do what Mike?”, “Rebuild the house. Let me get my tools”. Give me a hammer, a bag of nails and the internet and you’ll see me up on the ladder doing a project myself. My grandfather was the spitting image of Craig Morrison and it just brought back all those memories of working with him on the farm. My grandfather was still building pieces of his barn when he was pushing 80 years old, the only reason he didn't into his 90s was the fault of the Parkinson's disease. So I can completely empathize with Craig when a building committee official starts asking for every little detail under the sun, sucking up hundreds of dollars in permit fees and then grumbling when a building code isn't met just perfectly (even though many times building code is an ever changing arena, where it’s code one day, and then not code the next). Even over the really ridiculous ones like having “stamped” lumber. Which basically it means it was authorized by the lumber committee as being safe and of stable material. On the other hand, I understand WHY permits and building inspectors were created. Without them anyone can throw up a house and put up the ceiling joists with duct tape and bubble gum, instead of proper fasteners, causing a major safety hazard. The film does an admirable job at pointing out the flaws in each person’s side here. Craig is stubborn and pushes the boundaries a bit too much, even though he knows he’s doing it right, and the building inspector, played by Jonathon Potts, is purely annoying here. The kind of man who’ll use his power in office to wield unfair banning of the build, even when Mr. Morrison goes out of his way to get an outside inspector to verify the construction of his already near completed build .
Again, the purpose of the movie wasn't to prove who was right or wrong. Both sides were wrong to an extent. The purpose of the film was to show a man who still had his dignity, his pride and the desire to forge on in life, doing what he felt was right, even when no one else could think it possible. What makes the movie even more satisfying is the fact that it was based on the true story of Craig and Irene Morrison, and followed rather closely I might add. “Still Mine” left me with a sense of peace and calm at the end, one of those movies where you leave the chair with a smile on your face and that wistful feeling in your heart that says “I would like to be like them when I’m that age”.
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief sensuality/partial nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=17650[/img]The nice thing about shooting with modern day equipment is that you can make the picture look REALLY nice, and with excellent digital photography combined with the stunning Canadian scenery, we have a really beautiful looking 1.85:1 AVC encode. The image is crystal clear without any of the normal drawbacks of digital photography. The blacks are deep and inky without having any unwanted digital noise, the colors and bright and beautifully saturated throughout. The contrasts are well within reason and there’s no blooming whites. Really there’s not much I can nitpick on, besides the occasional soft shot here and there. The detail is excellent from beginning to end, with all the liver spots and wrinkles that you would expect… Ok, that may not be the most appealing aspect about the picture, but you get the idea. The best part of the entire film is just watching those rolling Ontario hills. The lush greens, the soft blues of the lake and rustic wood all around. Makes me homesick for my grandfather’s farm that I grew up around.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=17642[/img]The audio isn’t nearly so perfect, and it’s really not any major fault of the encode. It’s really just due to the fact that it’s a very front heavy drama. Most of the sounds coming out of the speakers are dialogue, or locked in the front three speakers. There’s a bit of ambient noise with the surrounds, the little noises of a farm house, or a country, road liven up those back speakers, but really the track is weighted in that front sound stage. With that being said, the front heavy track does an EXCELLENT job of doing what it’s been commissioned. Vocals are clear and crisp, without any balance issues, and the effects coming from the mains have no issue with me. The LFE is the weakest part here, with barely a blip here or there, only really coming out to play when a tree falls or something to the effect. It’s not really noticeable, but it does play a small part.
Nada, no Extras.
I was a bit reticent about the film based on the trailers. Thankfully most of my fears were needless. “Still Mine” is a sweet story about hanging onto your dignity, your pride, and your self-worth. It revolves around people who have grown together so much over the years that it’s difficult to see where one stops and the other begins. It’s a tale of intimacy and love that drives a person to do whatever it takes, and to care for and support that other person’s dignity as much as your own. The picture is simply amazing, and the audio is satisfactory. The only real downside to the packaging is the fact that there are ZERO extras. With that being said, it’s an excellent picture that deserves a much wider audience be able to view it, than it had in its theatrical day. Definitely recommended for a watch.
Starring: James Cromwell, Geneviève Bujold, Jonathan Potts
Directed by: Michael McGowan
Written by: Michael McGowan
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 102 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Buy Still Mine Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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