While some aspects of this movie feel off the mark, others are spot-on, and the finished product, while not a particularly good mystery, at least becomes a decent, earnest social drama. The feature directing debut by Vlad Feier, Still Here relies on multiple characters with varied success. Perhaps the most troubling is Christian Baker, a "White savior" character who's remarkably clueless when it comes to communicating with the movie's Black characters. Eventually he writes about "kindness," which is a positive message, but he himself doesn't seem to have expressed any. (Whitworth also seems to be channeling Kurt Russell, with his mane of hair and raspy, murmuring delivery.) Detective Spaulding, meanwhile, is a White man who's shown being a good father and having a comfortable relationship with his Black partner, Evans -- but Spaulding is horribly racist and violent when dealing with Black suspects. And the Watsons are portrayed as a loving family who are proud but not naive about the realities of their world.
Despite some wobbly camerawork and awkward montages, the story itself is competently told, though it loses suspense by not introducing all of the key characters early. (Beetz has only one scene, late in the film.) The acting is fine across the board. At its best, Still Here could perhaps stimulate worthwhile conversations with the serious, sincere way it delivers its message.