Samuel Goldwyn Films Acquires TIFF Romantic Drama 'Still'

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by Beth Hanna
September 14, 2012 4:31 PM
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Samuel Goldwyn Films has taken U.S. rights to Michael McGowan's romantic drama "Still," starring James Cromwell and Genevieve Bujold. The film premiered on September 10 at TIFF.

"Still" sounds somewhat like a Canuck "Amour": Cromwell and Bujold play Craig and Irene, an aging New Brunswick couple who clash with local bureaucratic forces as they attempt to build a new home suitable for the demands brought on by Irene's failing health.

Goldwyn is planning a 2013 release for the film.

Check out a more extensive description from the TIFF programming notes:

One of a dwindling number of family farmers in rural St. Martins, New Brunswick, Craig Morrison (James Cromwell) is used to doing things for himself. Sometimes cantankerous and always stubborn, he’s kept his traditional farm going in a period when industrial agriculture dominates the marketplace. The primary reason he’s been able to do so is his relationship with his wife, Irene (Geneviève Bujold), who’s as tough and determined as he is. But when her health begins to fail, Craig is faced with the choice of either building a new, more suitable home for her, or leaving the farm they have lived on for decades. A skilled carpenter, he figures the only obstacles he faces are time and the weather. That is, until he meets Rick (Jonathan Potts), a government inspector who makes it his personal mission to halt construction on the new house.

Based on a true story, Michael McGowan's Still is, in part, about the battle between heritage and modernity. Craig and Rick don't speak the same language — Craig isn't just annoyed at Rick’s persistence, he’s offended by it. Every joist in the new house is square and sturdy, he explains, because that's how his father taught him to do it. But at its heart, the film is an exquisitely mounted and deeply affecting love story about a couple in their twilight years. Filmmakers (or their financiers) have traditionally preferred to focus on younger couples or May–December relationships. As McGowan and his collaborators demonstrate, Craig and Irene's relationship is far richer because of the past they’ve shared. Their conversations are charged, direct, and laden with subtext — not the kind of empty verbal jousting we would normally see in a romance. (An offhand comment about Craig's old girlfriend indicates that old wounds still haven't healed; a discussion about death reveals how deeply connected they are.)

It helps that McGowan has found the perfect pair to bring Craig and Irene to the screen. As one might expect, Cromwell and Bujold are nothing short of magnificent.

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