Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Stillwater Movie Review

Matt Damon stars in Stillwater

Getting After It

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Unemployed roughneck Bill Baker (Academy Award winner Matt Damon) travels from Oklahoma to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter Allison (Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin.) Imprisoned for a murder she claims she did not commit, Allison seizes on a new tip that could exonerate her and presses Bill to engage her legal team, but Bill, eager to prove his worth and regain his daughter's trust, takes matters into his own hands. He is quickly stymied by language barriers, cultural differences, and a complicated legal system until he meets French actress Virginie (Camille Cottin) mother to eight-year-old Maya (Lilou Siauvaud.) Together, these unlikely allies embark on a journey of discovery, truth, love and liberation.

Starring: Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, Abigail Breslin and Lilou Siauvaud.

What's Good: "There's a time for hope, and a time for acceptance." McCarthy showcases both in the surprisingly entertaining Stillwater. It's a modest film with a big name (Damon) who wisely plays it cool throughout, delivering a stirring performance with (seemingly) minimal effort. His interplay with eight-year-old Maya (Siauvaud) is simultaneously engaging, genuine and often hilarious... a far cry from the relationship he has with his own daughter Allison (Breslin.) This misdirection is most effective, as you tend to feel sorriest for Damon's character, who's on screen most of the time. I found myself rooting for him to start his own new life (of sorts) but you just know he's going to do the right thing, no matter how wrong that might be (twist alert.)

What's Not: It's never boring, but 2 hours and 20 minutes is a big ask, especially if you're not used to sitting in a movie theater (COVID.)

Budget: N/A

Runtime: 140 minutes (20-30 minutes longer than it should be.)

Target Audience: Moviegoers who appreciate a good story (over special effects, etc.)

Bottom Line: The aforementioned twist comes at a perfect time, and gives Stillwater a much needed boost (and an even rarer effective ending.) The story appears sensational; but in McCarthy's capable hands, remains simple (as it is compelling.)

GradeB+ (A great little movie with gorgeous shots of the oft-overlooked city of Marseille. Strong performances all around too.)