Saturday movie review: 'Still Mine'

James Cromwell — whom I've loved ever since "Babe" — may not be the first to come to mind when considering male romantic leads. He sure does a fine job playing such, though, in the touching drama STILL MINE, which also stars Geneviève Bujold as his long-wed love.

Still Mine

Cromwell and Bujold — both Oscar nominees — star as Craig and Irene Morrison. They've been married more than 60 years, raised seven children together, and remain passionately in love with another despite the decades.

Now, with Irene's health rapidly deteriorating, 87-year-old Craig sets out to build a home better suited to his dearly beloved's needs as the long-time family home proves dangerous for her in what seems to be the early stages of Alzheimer's. Craig's decision to build the house on his own puts him up against red tape and relatively ridiculous bureaucratic baloney of the regional building department. He refuses to back down from the challenge despite the efforts of his children, his cranky neighbor, and others who attempt to thwart his enthusiasm and determination. 


STILL MINE is a quiet film and Cromwell a quiet though sometimes crotchety hero. There are no big explosions — with the exception of a few verbal ones — and no huge dramatic moments. Just simple and sweet scenes from a marriage, from forever friendships, from adult children doing their best to help out Mom and Dad. Thing is, Dad seems to have things under control on his own, in his own way. 

Cromwell and Bujold are naturals together. They have chemistry — passion, even — that created a believable love story for the older folks that even younger folk can appreciate and be moved by. It rang true and deep. And, best of all, it's not sappy and Nicholas Sparks-y. You'll find no misty love scenes (though there is one, sans mist), no tear-jerking proclamations of forever love. STILL MINE, based on a true story, is the reality of forever love, with all its warts, worries and wrinkles — plus humor and humility throughout.

But STILL MINE is not just a love story. It's also a story of a little guy taking on the big guys and not backing down. I like that writer-director Michael McGowan didn't make Craig a bumbling senior citizen who doesn't understand how things work nowadays. Instead, Craig's reasoning makes far more sense than the codes and regulations of the building inspector. Cromwell humbly plays a no-nonsense, fearless little guy who willingly accepts the challenge.

Cromwell also willingly accepted the challenge of a nude scene (not frontal) in the film — a pretty gutsy move for a man of his age and one that totally caught me by surprise. He discusses preparing for such in the following featurette.

STILL MINE (rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief sensuality/partial nudity) was released in theaters in 2013 and is now available on DVD.