Never Steady, Never Still
Canadian writer-director Kathleen Hepburn shows skill behind the camera, but stumbles with certain areas of her debut feature
A portrait of grief, Never Steady, Never Still centres on a small family in rural Canada. Judy (Henderson) is gradually losing control of her life to advancing Parkinson’s disease when her husband (Campbell) passes away. While Judy fights to maintain domestic independence without her primary carer, their son Jamie (Pellerin) is likewise losing grip of his identity in the aggressively masculine oil camps of Alberta.
Canadian filmmaker Kathleen Hepburn makes her debut with Never Steady, Never Still, and her skill behind the camera is evident as she captures the Canadian landscape with beautiful delicacy. However, the film falls apart in its subject matter, particularly its depiction of Parkinson’s. It’s glaringly obvious that Henderson is an able-bodied person playing someone with a disability, and the depiction increasingly feels exploitative. In comparison, Hepburn handles Jamie’s subplot of teenage and sexual confusion with sensitivity, proving she is more than capable of nuance.
Let down by how it handles its subject matter, Never Steady, Never Still is nevertheless an impressive debut from a promising filmmaker. [Katie Goh]
Released by Thunderbird