Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that attacks the central nervous system slowly, over a long period of time. It is most recognizable by the tremors or shakes, but also causes imbalance walking, and other problems. No one knows the cause and there is no cure. Parkinson's is not terminal, but it can cause a person's body function to do something that can cause death.


Shirley Henderson ("Urban Hymn", "T2 Trainspotting") gets the lead as Judy, a 50-something married woman with one son living in Alberta Canada. She and her husband Ed (Nick Campbell) lost their first child during childbirth, but their second child - though frail - manages to survive. He is now young adult Jamie (Theodor Pekllerin), still living at home uncertain of what he is going to do in life. Ed wants him to get a job and start supporting himself.


That's not a bad idea because Judy is in the advanced stages of Parkinson's and requires a lot of care, though she is able to get around sufficiently. She goes to group therapy and she , of course, sees her doctor regularly...but like I said, there is no cure for Parkinson's.

Jamie's best friend in the frozen tundra is Daryl (Jared Abrahamson) who is naturally hot to trot for any woman and desperate to go to the city to find on and a job. Jamie speaks hesitantly about his sexual desires, but he's not quite sure what they are. So both Jamie and Daryl tell the fanciful tales of conquest that neither has experienced.


Ed gets word of a job in the oil fields of Alberta and wants Jamie to apply for one. The job would require that he move up to the oil fields and live. Everyone agrees it's a good idea, though at varying levels of acceptance.


When Jamie gets to his new job, he soon realizes what he feared, that he was the runt of the group of workers, with absolutely no idea what he is doing. So, there is meaningful bullying and finally the revelation that he isn't quite sure he even likes sex, because he's never had sex. Nor has he even masturbated.


Meanwhile, back at home, Judy struggles with her diminishing abilities while Ed earns the daily bread. Everything seems to be working out until a sudden tragedy occurs that throws things out of kilter. All the plans are nixed. Kathleen Hepburn's film takes a understandable and ecpected turn that has no chance of a good outcome...because there is no cure for Parkinson's. In her first feature length film, Hepburn presents a sympathetic look at Parkinson's but also stark look at the realities of life.


Henderson turns in a convincing and powerful performance as a woman struggling with Parkinson's. Pellerin turns in an equally convincing performance as a boy with identity issues.


"Never Steady, Never Still" is a well produced film that looks the personal struggles of a woman struggling with her own affliction in an unforgiving land. The Eskimo ending is moving.   -- GEOFF BURTON