Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Do-it-yourself travails

Still Mine
The house that Craig built – even though his ‘old school’ ways clash with the powers that be.

Peter Veugelaers  |  02 Dec 2013

Still Mine (2013)

Recently Released DVD. Rated PG, nudity and coarse language. Country: Canada. Starring James Cromwell, Genevieve Bujold. Writer and director Michael McGowan

Rating: 8/10

It's in the vein of Kiwi cum Aussie do-it-yourself and trust the authorities to interfere, and it reminded me of The Castle although Still Mine is Canadian.

Still Mine is based on a true story that translates well. 

Craig Morrison (James Cromwell) is adamant that the system — which has served him a list of infringements for building illegally on his own land — won’t deter him from settling into a more manageable-sized house for him and his wife on their green acres.

Moreover, the 87-year-old will build the house himself, but he has to comply with strict safety regulations even though his ‘old school’ ways clash with the powers that be.

His determination to finish the project is compelling to watch in the face of doubters such as his family. The most entertaining is the barbed wit between Morrison and his neighbour.

Morrison doesn’t let age slow him down, though.

As the times have changed, his crotchety bedside manner reveals disenchantment, but he’s willing to go along with what is required so long as the job gets done.

But the authorities are portrayed as ‘perpetrators’ that get in the way.

This movie could be a political statement. It is food for thought. It is about culture.

And how Morrison deals with wife Irene’s ill health runs parallel to his other problems.

Their mortality is brought into the open and it is open-ended in that they are not expecting anything particular to be on the ‘other side’.

The situation is stymied in law, but the ending is ironic, and there is a sense of ‘amnesia’ that affirms rather than devalues life, as ironic as that seems.

We are taken into the lives of these key characters and the acting is first-rate, especially the leads.

Profanity can spoil a film, but Still Mine’s virtues shine on through – it twists and turns on predicament and swivels on compassionate moments.

Peter Veugelaers writes poetry, stories, devotionals, and non-fiction as well as reviews