John and the Missus

Director: Gordon Pinsent
Screenwriters: Gordon Pinsent

Institute History

  • 1987 Sundance Film Festival


Gordon Pinsent has long been one of Canada’s preeminent actors, moving with equal ease between the demands of stage, screen and television. In many people’s eyes he has become synonymous with the place he was born, the rugged, weather-beaten island of Newfoundland. Pinsent has returned to his birthplace to direct his first feature, an adaptation of one on his own novels, turning it into an elegant and passionately committed film about a man who stands firm in the face of unacceptable change.

The year is 1962 and Newfoundland, with a chronically depressed economy, is suffering all the strain this entails. John is a miner, like his father before him. His son Matt has also begun to work below ground. The company decides that the mine has become economically unsound and plans to relocate their workers: this means the town will close down. For John, his home is more than where he lives: it is his identity and to leave would amount to a betrayal. As plans proceed and tensions mount, John and his wife must come to grips with the implications of fighting for what they believe in, especially when it also affects their newly married son and his future.

— Piers Handling

Screening Details

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