TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘Never Steady, Never Still’

TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘Never Steady, Never Still’

Director Kathleen Hepburn shows us rural Canada in Never Steady, Never Still. That’s home to Judy (Shirley Henderson) and young Jaime (Theorodre Pellerin). Judy has Parkinson’s disease, an illness that’s still hard to live with. And that’s despite the programs that we see that are available for her in present day. Her wish to live independently clashes with her increasingly erratic behaviour. She, does, however. have her husband Eddie (Nicholas Campbell) and their friend Lenny (Lorne Cardinal) to help her out. Reluctant to leave Judy behind is her son, Jaime, coming straight out of high school. He’s trying to strike out in the drilling rigs like young men his age. This squeaky clean kid eventually faces a world of drugs, violence, and bullying in these oil wells.

Henderson is great, as usual, committed to portraying the total nature of her character’s illness. It takes stamina to play Judy. In a film that uses dialogue sparingly she has a few of monologues and she aces them. And the young Pellerin, catches to his co-stars’ level, showing how Jaime caves to his world’s pressures. He also portrays his character’s sexuality with a refreshing subtlety. Both complement the film’s writing, as it shows her daily struggles. We also hear both leads narrate moments of their lives once or twice. It’s sadly a device that the film doesn’t know how to use. Hepburn’s film switches between Judy and Jaime unflinchingly. However, even the big moments don’t seem to have the cinematic punch it deserves.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.