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September 7, 2017

The Globe’s Guide to TIFF: Never Steady, Never Still


The Globe and Mail

Kathleen Hepburn’s feature-film debut, based on her short film of the same name, showcases a deeply affecting performance by Shirley Henderson, who plays Judy, a mother struggling with Parkinson’s disease. She is the youngest person by far in her support group, where she tells a devastatingly moving story of her husband’s marriage proposal. Judy had Parkinson’s back then, and now, with an 18-year-old son named Jamie, life has only gotten harder. Jamie must deal with his own hardships when his father forces him to get a job in an oil field where he is constantly bullied by a co-worker. Winter comes and goes, then comes and goes again. Yes, the film often feels slow, but Hepburn wants to track gradual decline. Judy goes from dealing cards to her husband and a friend as they sit on the waterfront to barely being able to lift a shirt over her head. The hardship of it is immediate, but it never feels forced or exploitative. Hepburn cares for her characters too much to force matters in such a way. – Dave McGinn

TIFF 2017 schedule: Sept. 9, 12:45 p.m., Lightbox; Sept. 11, 9:15 p.m., Scotiabank