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Still Mine - Film Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
I'm retired, busy with volunteer radio and (with my wife) going to the theatre and enjoying 'fine dining".
Published June 10th 2013
Octogenarian David meets Goliath
Octogenarians Craig and Irene Morrison (played by James Cromwell of "Babe" fame, and Irene Morrison) live on 2,000 acres in New Brunswick. Irene is showing signs of worsening memory loss, and Craig decides to build with his own hands a smaller house more suited to their needs. That's when the problems start.

Craig encounters the regulator from Hades, who inflexibly imposes the letter of every possible law. The timber frame, which Craig had created from timber that Craig has processed in his own saw-mill, is rejected because it does not carry official stamps of approval.

A 'stop-work" order is imposed, which Craig ignores.
Irene falls down the stairs of their old house, fortunately not causing herself serious harm and they move their bed downstairs. Their neighbours and children rally round, and Craig continues to build, and to look after Irene, who has another fall, breaking her hip.

As we get to know Craig and Irene we admire their warm, gentle and caring relationship, and Craig's quiet generosity and decency become evident.

Matters come to a head as Craig goes to court. Witnesses make clear that the new house far exceeds building standards, even if it does not tick all the regulatory boxes. And Craig courteously tells the judge that he and Irene intend to live in the house he has built, unless the judge puts him in jail.

It would be a pity if the film were to be used as a libertarian fable against all building regulations most of us would, I suspect, prefer that we are protected against incompetence and dishonesty.

That said, the film has a great deal to say about administrators who inflexibly impose regulations for the sake of regulations, and lose sight of their purpose in this instance ensuring that we end up with buildings which are safe and durable.

Perhaps more importantly, "Still Mine" portrays good people facing ageing and its challenges with courage and caring.
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Why? James Cromwell in a touching film
When: Out now
Where: In Cinemas
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