Little did I know when I moved into my house there was a future role model living next door, who would alter my journey in life. My neighbor was an elderly woman in her early 80’s, living alone in her house. In summer she would be out in the high heat, mowing her lawn with an old push wheel mower. Autumn would come and she would be up on a ladder by the side of her house, cleaning out the fallen leaves from her gutters. Though I offered to help, she would be out shoveling her sidewalks after every snowstorm in winter. I wanted to be just like her when I grew old. Because of her spry active lifestyle, I altered the way I taught my fitness and yoga classes. The focus changed towards functional movements. I would tell my classes the reason we were doing a certain movement was so we could lift ourselves out of a chair, when we were 80 years old. In his first leading role James Cromwell’s (The Queen, Babe) character Craig Morrison could certainly be considered a role model. Based on a true story, Craig and his wife Irene, played by Genevieve Bujold (Anne of the Thousand Days, Coma), had been happily married for several decades. With Irene beginning to show signs of dementia, Craig decided to build a house that would be more manageable for both of them. Just like his father before him, Craig planned to build the house himself with his own plans; however, there was this little piece of paper called a permit that would challenge him in more ways than he could have ever imagined. James and Genevieve made such a beautiful couple; I was absorbed into their story. The acting was superb as we saw how their daily lives were being affected with her forgetfulness. This was one of those movies that was kept simple because the script was sufficient enough to let the viewer feel the emotional power of its words. I not only enjoyed the beauty of this film festival winner, I appreciated the way this drama reminded me of my dear old neighbor.
3 1/3 stars
Guilt is that off colored shadow that quietly attaches itself to your future decisions. It can be the insidious force that feeds on your insecurities as it devours your organs. There are people who can tame their guilt with the deliverance of forgiveness; I wish it could be that easy. It takes a large amount of work for me to let go of guilt. On the other hand, I have had better success in being forgiving though my percentages are not high. This dramatic film presented an interesting character study on the topic of guilt and forgiveness. The impressive cast swayed me to this DVD. Thomas Kelley’s, played by Steve Buscemi (Fargo, The Big Lebowski), dying wish was to be forgiven. In order for that to happen, Kelley and his old naval buddies would have to break their code of silence and revisit painful memories from over 30 years ago. Jamey Sheridan (The Ice Storm, Syriana) played conflicted naval friend Harry Sweeney, who took Kelley’s wish to heart. Carrying out the wish meant Harry having to locate the others from their group: Peter Reems and Professor Porter, played by John Savage (The Deer Hunter, Hair) and Aidan Quinn (Unknown, Sarah’s Key). For the most part the story was interesting though predictable in places. A series of flashbacks were used to give the viewer hints of the guys’ naval past. The actors performed well with what they were given, though I found a couple of the scenes unrealistic. As for guilt and forgiveness, I felt the writer and director handled it in a believable and even way. When I was done with the DVD I experienced no guilt for spending my time sitting and watching this intriguing film.
2 1/2 stars — DVD