Still Mine

I am not honestly sure whether this is a really good time for movies about old people or whether I have just started to get interested in movies about old people.  I think it’s just a good time.  When Ron Howard gave us Cocoon, nearly 30 years ago, I was ready to invest myself in it.

In any case, Bette and I saw Still Mine this week and I’ve been thinking about it.  You probably shouldn’t seStill Mine 1e it if you happen to be a building inspector.  To the extent there are any bad guys at all (death and senile dementia are not bad guys), it is the building inspectors.  On the other hand, if you are a libertarian, an old woman who is married, an old man who is married, the son or daughter of either of the above, a builder, or a neighbor, you are going to find something here to like.

I won’t bother you with the plot.  Here it is:

The first thing to like is the work of James Cromwell and Geneviève Bujold as Craig and Irene Morrison.  They have been married for sixty years or so.  He is watching his life start to flatline because nothing moves him to demand more of himself.  She is losing touch with reality—little things, mostly, but they can’t continue to live in the big old house he built for them and their sevenStill Mine 2 children.[1]

She needs to love him and trust him and she does, as she is able.  He needs to love her and treasure her and he does, with a couple of exceptions.  I like the exceptions.  I don’t approve of them, but the fact that he is not endlessly patient and constructive helps me believe that he is actually a person and not just a moral mirage.  Cromwell and Bujold need to be very very good because there isn’t much plot.  The movie is about who they are, particularly who they are for each other.

I wanted more to be made of the way Craig and Irene had friends.  They were particular friends with Chester and Margaret Jones.  Chester and Craig mostly just rag on each other; it took me a little while to be sure that it was just their way of being friends.  Margaret brings a casserole over after Irene falls and is taken to the hospital.  Craig refuses until Margaret says, “If the roles were reversed, this is what Irene would have done.  You know that.”[2]  Craig does know that and accepts the casserole.

I wanted to see more of the way their relationship was lodged in their community because I suspect they could not have been who they were for each other had they not been those people to others in their town.  We hear about things they have done for others, but we don’t get to see it so it doesn’t serve as the vivid context as it should.

I also wanted to see more because right in the middle of everything, Chester dies.  We don’t know Chester well, but Craig does and Chester’s death reminds him of all the deaths to come—some not all that far off.

Just go see it if you fit into any of the categories I named.  Bette and I came away thoughtful, but also hopeful.

[1] One of the tug of the heart scenes is Craig leaving the big family house for the last time and stopping to put his hand on the door frame they used to measure the height of their children as they grew.  He could always pry it off and take it with him, but he knows it would be better if he left it.

[2] That’s almost right.  I’ve only heard it once so far.

About hessd

Here is all you need to know to follow this blog. I am an old man and I love to think about why we say the things we do. I've taught at the elementary, secondary, collegiate, and doctoral levels. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. I have taught political science for a long time and have practiced politics in and around the Oregon Legislature. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. You'll be seeing a lot about my favorite topics here. There will be religious reflections (I'm a Christian) and political reflections (I'm a Democrat) and a good deal of whimsy. I'm a dilettante.
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