Still Life: Mourning has broken

by Mark Burger

Writer/ producer/director Uberto Pasolini’s mild, pleasant Still Life gives that talented character actor Eddie Marsan a chance to take center stage, and he proves more than up to the task.

Marsan plays John May, a mild-mannered public servant who dutifully arranges for the burial or cremation of those recently departed with no family or friends. That May himself is a solitary individual with no apparent family or friends is among the film’s genteel ironies. He even keeps an album of photos of his “clientele.”

When he loses his job, May becomes intent on finishing his last assignment, regarding one William Stoke. Whether it be a final battle, mission, heist or simply the matter of tracking down a single individual’s history, in the world of film it’s bound to be a profound, lifechanging experience “” and so it is here.

The pleasures of Still Life aren’t limited to Marsan’s gently appealing performance.

Joanne Froggatt (of “Downton Abbey”) plays Stoke’s long-estranged daughter Kelly, who predictably takes a bit of a shine to John “” and he to her.

Rachel Portman’s score and Stefabo Falievene’s cinematography offer aural and visual augmentation to a wistful, ultimately lightweight tale. Alas, the story’s final, bittersweet irony isn’t so much whimsy as flimsy “” a little too precious for its own good.

Still Life opens Friday at Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema, Greensboro. !

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