Saturday, September 27, 2014

Still Mine: Film Review

Released on DVD in the USA
May 6, 2014
Because I watch a lot of films featuring older adults, I note various choices made in each film. For example, the point of view can determine a great deal about the way characters are portrayed and themes are established.

Some films adopt the point of view of adult children, as does The Savages (2007) , Big Fish (2003) and Marvin's Room (1996).  

Other times an ensemble cast allows a multigenerational perspective, as is present in Is Anybody There (2008), Checking Out (2005) and Nothing in Common (1986). 

Because I am trying to empathize more with the challenges and opportunities of advanced age, I value films that adopt the point of view of older adults.

Still Mine, with a 2013 limited release in Canada, takes such a viewpoint.  Available in the US on DVD this year, I finally took the opportunity to watch it. 

James Cromwell plays Craig Morrison, an octogenarian who decides to build a one-story home for his wife, Irene--played by Genevieve Bujold.   She has dementia and struggles to manage the stairs in their two-story farm house. 

Based on a true story, Craig runs into snags because he doesn't have the right building permits.  Craig also runs into interference from his adult children. They think Craig should move his ailing wife into an assisted living center.  

The title of the film comes from Craig's passionate assertion.  He judges himself capable of caring for his wife, and he will do so because she's "still mine."  

Aging often pits safety against self-determination, and this film is one that depicts a very strong drive for independence.  It helps me understand how older adults feel about making their own decisions.  Of course there are some situations where people's judgments are impaired because of change to cognition.

But cognition problems don't affect Craig. This film character provides a very salient portrait of the will and right to control one's life circumstances--even as an older adult. Or as Craig says, "Age is just an abstraction, not a straitjacket." 



  1. I think I would like to watch this film – I say “think” because I am not sure. My husband has onset Alzheimer and so far he only has no short term memory, so I don’t know how I would handle watching this film. On another subject I just finished reading “The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and their Forgotten War” by Richard Rubin. The author decided to interview the last veterans from WWI and all of them were over 100 years old, averaging 103. Some were living alone, and one was 109 years old.

    1. Thanks, Vagabonde, for the tip about the Doughboys film. I'll have to see if I can find a copy of it. All my best to you and your husband. This film on Alz is actually very positive. There is only one scene where the husband really struggles with his wife's memory issues. Most of the time the conflict is with people outside of their marriage interfering with his plans to care for her. Hugs!

  2. Sounds good; I'll have to check it out. If you ever watch TV, the show Parenthood covers some of the same issues. It's a little sentimental at times, but still good.

    1. Tom: I haven't seen an episode of Parenthood yet. Thanks for the recommendation!