Stillwater (2021) Poster


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love first 2/3
SnoopyStyle1 September 2021
Bill Baker (Matt Damon) is one of the struggling underclass living in Stillwater, Oklahoma. His oil rig job is gone and he's doing a lowly cleanup job after a tornado. He's respectful to everybody, has two guns, and prays before every meal. Money is tight. He was a bad absentee father but he travels to Marseille, France to visit his daughter Allison (Abigail Breslin) who is in prison for murdering her girlfriend. She claims to be innocent. Bill has a suspect but no one is willing to help. He befriends a young girl named Maya and her mother Virginie (Camille Cottin) helps him as his translator.

First, the elephant in the room is the complaint by Amanda Knox. She's entitled to her feelings and I'm sure that it feels bad to have other people take advantage of her story. While this story has some similarities, there are big differences from her story. In addition, this is the father's story more than the daughter's story. Amanda may feel exploited but at best, she is the starting inspiration for the writing of this story.

The most compelling aspect is to make this MAGAian character as a sympathetic lead. The world is grinding him down but he still struggles on. He is Sisyphus. Their mantra becomes Life is Brutal. For the movie's first 2/3, his struggling to save his daughter is very compelling. His friendship with Maya is very sweet. The better way to wrap this up would be a sweet tragic turn with Maya. The turn it actually does is too convenient, too setup by the movie, and the movie had moved on. It clashes but I'm willing to live with it until the further twist comes. The twist is a real problem and it retroactively destroys some of the movie's first 2/3. Breslin would be acting differently and her explanation is a little light. It screws up an otherwise great movie.
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Under The Surface
boblipton7 August 2021
Okie Matt Damon departs his home state, as he has before, to visit his daughter, Abigail Breslin, in prison is Marseilles for killing her lesbian Arabic lover. She says she didn't do it. He believes her, but during the trial he got drunk and punched out a British journalist, which didn't help Now she has a possible lead, but her defense attorney says it's too speculative to bring to the courts. So he stays to do some sleuthing on his own , and gets involved with actress Camille Cottin and her daughter, Lilou Siauvaud.

THe two main strength in this movie are Damon's performance, which is as seething under a facade of Plains States good manners as I could imagine. Two thirds of his sides seem to be "Yes, ma'am", even while the audience can see his anger and despair and yes, self-loathing simmer, never quite raising the lid of the pot. The other is Masanobu Takayanagi's beautiful camerawork, whose color palette transforms the 3000-year-old city into a watercolor.
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It's about finding peace
nogodnomasters14 August 2021
Warning: Spoilers
The film was inspired by the Amanda Knox saga, who was having a hissy fit before it was even released or she saw the film. Alison Baker is in jail in France for the murder of her Muslim girlfriend lover. Her Oklahoma oil worker dad, Matt Damon (Jason Bourne after he was kicked in the head by a mule) goes over to visit her and later does an investigation on his own.

The film was boring. They should have made Damon a kick boxer or something. Too much in French.

Guide: F-word. Sex. No nudity.
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Deeply engaging
Gordon-1122 August 2021
This is a deeply engaging film. The plot and the characters draw you in. Matt Damon is very good in this. I enjoyed it a lot.
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bevo-1367826 October 2021
I like this one good story and all but what really did it for me was the really cool hat. Right up there with the adjuster bureau as far as Matt Damon movies with nice hats.
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Starts off well but peters out quickly...
CinemaSerf15 September 2021
It's an oddly constructed film this one. Matt Damon is pretty near the top of his game as the father who arrives in Marseille to help his imprisoned daughter - who has been accused of murdering her friend. Damon is very good in the role - an hard as nails father determined at all costs to seek justice. Somehow, though, his daughter "Allison" (Abigail Breslin) fails to engender one tiny bit of sympathy for her plight. I couldn't have cared less if she were never to see the light of day again - regardless of her innocence or otherwise. The film also flounders on a rather flawed premiss that somehow France is some romantic, fairy tale setting that ought not to be a match for this rough American. Anyone ever been to Marseille? It is as rough a place as exists anywhere, and has been for a very long time - so his difficulties are not only compounded, but the film loses a great deal of it's credibility. On the plus side, there is quite a delicate relationship demonstrated between him, "Virginie" (Camille Cottin) and her adorable little girl "Maya" (Lilou Siauvaud) but the ending is so weak, hurried and disappointing as to render the whole thing little better than a mystery in which nobody cares who did what to whom - and I suspect neither Stillwater nor Marseille would be overly impressed with the way the cities were shown here. A film for television, i'd say.
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oklahoma fish out of water
ferguson-630 July 2021
Greetings again from the darkness. It's understandable if you are taken in by a trailer that hints at a movie featuring an unknown dad going non-stop in cold pursuit of justice for his daughter (those numerous Liam Neeson references were for my own pleasure). In fact, this father has his own particular set of skills: he's a master at carpentry and electrical, he speaks the Oklahoma version of English, and he owns two guns (neither of which he has with him). And yes, this film is billed as a crime thriller, but you should know, we see very little crime, and the thrills are mostly non-existent. Despite all that, I connected with the story, not as a thriller, but rather as a character study of a flawed man trying to do the right thing by his daughter and find redemption for himself.

Oscar winner Matt Damon plays Bill Baker, a quiet out of work oil worker whom we first see on a clean-up crew after a disastrous tornado. Not long after, he's on an international flight to Marseille to visit his daughter Allison (Abigail Breslin). She's been incarcerated for five years after being found guilty of stabbing her French-Arab lover, Lina, to death. In a highly publicized trial, Allison held fast to her claim of innocence, and still does. Her father visits regularly, delivering supplies and clean laundry. Although they hug on the visits, a definite chasm exists. We later learn that Bill previously struggled with drugs and alcohol and never received votes for Father of the Year. Allison asks her father to deliver a sealed letter to her attorney claiming there is new evidence in her case - she heard a guy named Akim had bragged at a party about committing Lina's murder.

You likely noticed the similarities to the 2007 Amanda Knox case. The differences being that was Italy, this is France; and it was Amanda's roommate, not lover. In this movie, the media fascination is derived from the 'rich' entitled American white girl brutally murdering her minority working class lesbian lover (a textbook Hollywood rendering). Allison growing up poor in Oklahoma mattered little to the media.

Damon plays Bill as a stoic, Heartland of America man who'll do anything for "his little girl". But he's no Jason Bourne. He's the proverbial fish-out-of-water on this mission. He doesn't speak a bit of French, and depends on the kindness of local actress Virginie (Camille Cottin, ALLIED, 2016) to be his interpreter and cultural guide in a world he doesn't comprehend. Bill quickly bonds with Virginie's precocious daughter Maya (a sterling film debut by Lilou Siauvaud), and soon a platonic family unit has formed. Bill's frequent prayers and odd American manners are the perfect cultural clash with Virginie's artsy French ways. Of course, this ultimately leads to a shift in the platonic nature of their relationship.

The film is directed by Tom McCarthy, an Oscar winner for SPOTLIGHT (2015). I highly recommend two of his other films, the excellent THE VISITOR (2007), and his sinfully under-seen directorial debut THE STATION AGENT (2003). McCarthy co-wrote this script with Marcus Hinchey, Thomas Bidegain, and Noe Debre, which explains why the French details are so spot on. Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi delivers brilliant camera work to go with the story's methodical pacing, and Mychael Danna's music adds intensity and depth to situations both quiet and fraught with emotion. Damon does some of his best work here as a man burdened with his own past and slowly becoming aware of possible personal and family life redemption. Ms. Breslin burst on the scene in 2006 with LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, and she has transitioned well to adult roles ... though this role is somewhat abbreviated, she still does nice work in her scene with Maya and Virginie.

Bill and Virginie and Maya have some terrific segments together, including a dance to Sammi Smith's "Help Me Make it Through the Night". I'm guessing the rousing applause the film and actors received at Cannes was due partly to its French setting, and also to the depth of Bill's character (and Damon's performance). There are elements that seem far-fetched and maybe even overly complex, but viewed as the story of one man, it delivers some thought-provoking topics to the big screen. And yes, "life is brutal".

Opens in Theaters Friday, July 30.
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Good film, worthwhile.
bombersflyup20 August 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Stillwater is an engaging and likable film in totality, without particular moments to highlight.

From writer and director of 2003's "The Station Agent," Tom McCarthy. Bill's daughter effectively damned him. He who couldn't be counted on, but changed his whole way of life for her and now home, no longer such. Damon toning down his performance in the role. The film isn't predictable at all as a whole, but the soccer match entirely so. He would obviously see the guy and be responsible for Maya at the same time, so not too creative there. One of the better films of the year though.
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Entertaining crime drama.
deloudelouvain4 December 2021
Stillwater is quite a long movie, but it's never boring even if it's not very fast paced. Matt Damon is perfect for this role. He's a simple man in real life so playing a simple man in a movie is just something he's perfect for. I do like Matt Damon, not only for what he represents in real life, but also as an actor. He always delivers and that can't be said from all actors. The story of Stillwater is entertaining to watch, it keeps you focussed and eager to know what will happen. The mix of French and English was a good choice, it feels right as the movie is shot in Marseille, where not a lot of people speak English. That's a little detail that makes it look more realistic. The rest of the cast was also good, even the little girl, she was very convincing as well in her role. Certainly worth a watch.
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This Film is Brutal!
lavatch1 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
There is a grim determinism at work in "Stillwater," arguably one of the slowest paced and most depressing films in recent memory.

Much of the first half of the film is taken up with the granite block of man named Bill Baker (Matt Damon) striding the steep walkways of Marseilles, France, in search of a solution for his imprisoned daughter, Allison, convicted in the murder of her roommate and lover Lina.

The film may have been inspired by the lurid story of Amanda Knox, an American living in Italy who was accused of murdering her British roommate. But "Stillwater" has no dramatic trial scene to add a twist of drama. It is rather a semi-vigilante film with Bill attempting the impossible in securing a DNA sample of a young man to prove the innocence of his daughter.

The filmmakers aspired to evoke an arty European-style film, veering from the plot in the interest of mood. But the best part of the film was the realistic conversation and deep bonding between father and daughter.

The unsympathetic daughter Allison seems ungrateful that her father risked everything to spring her out of a French prison. Ultimately, Allison speaks the main tag line of the film: "Life is brutal."

Allison acknowledges that she and her dad are destined to live lives of desperation. Their DNA is of the loser variety. The deep, dark secrets of Allison Baker are finally revealed at the end. Allison will live haunted with the death of dear Lina. For the shattered dad, the only possible response is: "Life is brutal."
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Search and journey for justice only it twist with discovery.
blanbrn3 August 2021
"Stillwater" is one okay drama type suspense film of a father wanting to find out the truth with a case that involves his daughter. The film is a travel seek and find one that tries it's best to fight for justice, yet I for one felt the picture to be to long and in depth. Anyway Matt Damon is Bill a blue collar rural class working dad from Oklahoma who travels to France to look into a murder case that involves his daughter Allison(Abigail Breslin) a college exchange student. And Bill believes that his daughter has wrongly been accused and serving false prison time. The investigation and search seeking reveals people and clues only to twist and leave a viewer asking questions and thinking doubt. Along the way the film is spiced up some with Bill's intimate relationship with Virginie(Camille Cottin) a French stage actress. Overall nothing great still the movie tries to be long and in depth as it makes this an interesting mystery suspense type film that will leave the viewer still asking questions.
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Damon's Character
westsideschl28 November 2021
Not sure to what extent Damon's character was purposefully presented as such, but didn't care for him. More importantly, the character may represent a significant % of minimally educated white midwest/southern males. Religious to a symbolic extent of just saying grace at meals, but dropping out of school; petty crime; alcohol; anger control issues; lacking humility & acceptance of others; emotional not rational problem solving. Relates to others when he benefits.
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fails abit in ...
ops-5253524 August 2021
The end, and does have an uneccesary long plot and playtime to tell a short story. The main cast delivers very well, but the extras and support acts seems more amateuristic. Its more a drama than a thriller, and there are far too much dialouge than handy pandy action than youd expect from a matt damon movie, so just a 6 from the grumpy old man, and deserves the timefiller brand that would last 3.5 hours on a norwegian commercial channel...
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Worth watching...
Thanos_Alfie30 September 2021
"Stillwater" is a Crime - Drama movie in which we watch a father visiting her daughter in prison and starting searching for the truth about a murder her daughter claims that she didn't commit.

I liked this movie because it had a very interesting plot from the beginning until the end of it and also contained some plot twists I did not expect. The interpretation of Matt Damon who played as Bill Baker was simply amazing and he made the difference in this movie. Some other interpretations that have to be mentioned were Camille Cottin's who played as Virginie, Lilou Siauvaud's who played as Maya and Abigail Breslin's who played as Allison. In conclusion, I have to say that "Stillwater" is a breathtaking movie that will keep you in tense through its whole duration and I highly recommend everyone to watch it.
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Great story, but too long and too slow.
Top_Dawg_Critic12 August 2021
I agree with most reviewers that Damon's performance was excellent and convincing, and a accurate portrayal of Bill Baker as an Oklahoma oil roughneck.

My main and only issue was the unnecessarily long 139 min runtime and slow pacing by writer and director Tom McCarthy. There was too much filler added that just made the film drag on, from a screenplay that already was leaden.

Otherwise, it's a great story that is very loosely based on the Amanda Knox story. It's a decent one-time watch. It's a generous 7/10, mainly for the excellent performances.
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I Just Don't Know
damianphelps2 October 2021
Its not horrible but neither is it riveting. At times I was thinking its like Taken with all the good parts removed.

At other times I was thinking I like how they give the story a chance to breathe.

Overall, nothing remarkable, its moderate :)
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Defending Ally.
Fella_shibby27 August 2021
The trailer made it to appear like a thriller, specially like Liam Neeson style movies n a bit like Russell Crowe's Next Three Days but it is more of a crime drama with a good performance by Damon who really looked n acted like a hard manual laborer.

The movie then ended like a milder version of Defending Jacob.

The movie is so predictable that even my teenage daughter predicted it way before.

I got a bit disappointed but somehow i enjoyed it due to Matt Damon.
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marmar-6978019 August 2021
Stillwater is film leaded with one very strong performance from Matt and to me he gived here one of his best performances .

Story was maybe tiny bit to long and some pacing could have been faster but emotional connection was still rather good and fine.
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Slowburning, delicate portrait of a roughneck, who is desperate to proof the innocence of his daughter, accused of murder
imseeg28 August 2021
Beware: all you Matt Damon action fans, this is NOTHING like his earlier action work, because this movie is quite a SUBTLE DRAMA situated in France. Basically it is a dramatic movie like the French are known for, with lots of attention for the characters and a slow build up of the story.

This is a movie about family bonds, family love and how to repent ones sins of the past... This is not a thriller. Not a detective either. It is a slowburning, delicate portrait of a roughneck (Matt Damon, oil driller / builder) who is desperate to proof the innocence of his daughter who has been accused of murder and is improsined in France.

The bad: there are 2 very dramatic moments that are completely rushed, without any explanation. Very strange, but not that irritating, that it brings down the whole movie. The film is at moments quite slow. But never really becomes tedious, that is to say if you like a CHARACTER PORTRAIT. People without patience for character dramas shoudl avoid this movie...

The good: acting is good. And I personally love the time this movie takes to let us viewers see HOW Matt Damon is slowly falling in love with a French woman.
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Complete Rubbish
arfdawg-130 July 2021
What a horrible rip off movie.

Stealin from Amanda Knox and discrediting her when the is STILL ALIVE!

I hope she sues them.

To add salt to the wounds, the movie sucks. Damon was a really bad choice. The guy is not a commanding actor. He's boring.
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If you get the sense you've heard this story before but can't place it...
paul-allaer7 August 2021
As "Stillwater" (2021 release; 140 min.) opens, we are introduced to Bill Baker, an erstwhile oil rig worker now in between jobs. Baker is flying into Marseille again, for a(nother) 2 week stay there to visit his daughter Allison, who has already spent 5 years in jail for the murder of her girlfriend. Allison swears she is innocent. Meanwhile Baker gets to know his neighbor in the hotel, Virginie and her 9 yr. Old daughter Maya. Virginie actually speaks English, so that is quite helpful. When Baker meets with Allison's lawyer, he gets the news no parent wants to get: the lawyer basically has given up, and Baker is on his own... At this point we are less than 15 min. Into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience. You'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the first film from writer-director Tom McCarthy since his Oscar-winning "Spotlight" some 4-5 years ago. With a name like that attached to the film, not to mention the lead star Matt Damon, no slouch himself, I was intrigued by the film. Add Abigail "Little Miss Sunshine" Breslin as Allison, and you have all the necessary elements for a great movie. The movie's title "Stillwater" is quite misleading as in fact about 90% of the movie plays out in sprawling Marseilles. A critical scene in the movie plays out while the local soccer team Olympique Marseille plays a home game at the infamous Velodrome. It is clear that filming is done while an actual game is taking place, this is not staged, and hence adding to the authenticity of the scene. Alas, there are also some other aspects of the movie that do not work so well. Is this a "will she get out of jail" movie? Or is it more a troubled father-daughter relationship movie? Or perhaps yet something else? Also this: as soon as the movie started playing, it felt like I was familiar in a vague sense with this story, and hence I assumed that this was based on a true story. But nothing in the film credits acknowledges this. It didn't take me long afterwards to piece two and two together. The movie is in fact loosely based/a fictionalized version of the real life Amanda Knox story.

"Stillwater" was supposed to be released in theaters in Fall of 2020, but a little thing called COVID-19 had other plans. The movie finally was in theaters last weekend. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was not attended well, just 5 people (including myself). If you are a fan of Tom McCarthy or Matt Damon, or simply are in the mood for a complex if imperfect drama, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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Long and a little too simple
jtindahouse7 October 2021
'Stillwater' has a very simple plot. When the film began I was getting 'Taken' vibes, but it was very different to that. The film is primarily a drama and very few others genres could really be argued. Crime and even thriller are a bit of stretch. The film is also very long. Very few modern films can justify a 2 hour 20 minute length. On this occasion it was bearable, but it certainly took away any chance of being re-watched.

The acting is quite strong in this one. There are some pretty good characters at the heart of the movie which really helps to carry things, considering there is very little in the way of story for large portions of the film. Matt Damon's character is very understated and quiet, but he is also very likeable - largely in part to Damon's likability.

The film is called 'Stillwater' and I'm not really sure why - very little of the film is actually set there. I also felt the ending was quite rushed, which is unforgivable when the film is as long as it is. This is a decent film that is watchable, but far from must-see material. 6/10.
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JoBloTheMovieCritic22 November 2021
4/10 - loosely inspired by the Amanda Knox story, this drama dragged on for far too long and never really did anything to warrant much interest and will not be one I'm eager to rewatch.
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Not A Lot Of Action Here
stevendbeard2 August 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I saw "Stillwater", starring Matt Damon-Ford v Ferrari, True Grit_2010; Camille Cottin-Call My Agent_tv, I Kissed a Girl; Abigail Breslin-the Zombieland movies, Signs and Lilou Siauvaud-this is her first movie.

This movie is loosely based on the Amanda Knox story-I say loosely because I've heard that she is not too happy with it. Matt plays an Oklahoma oil 'roughneck' that travels to France to try to help his estranged daughter, Abigail. It seems that Abigail is in a French prison, accused of murdering a girl. She claims that she was framed but has been in prison for 5 years. Camille and her daughter, Lilou befriend Matt when he reaches France and try to help him in his quest for justice. Stillwater is the name of the town in Oklahoma that Matt is from. It's a study of how far a parent will go to help his daughter but it is not in the 'Bourne' or 'Taken' action genre-not a lot of action here, in fact, when someone asks Matt if he has a gun he says, 'Yeah, I have 2 of them, but I left them at home.' It's rated "R" for language and sexual content-including partial nudity-and has a running time of 2 hours & 19 minutes.

It's not one that I would buy on DVD. I don't know if I would rent it, either but if you are interested in seeing it, I'd wait until it comes to cable.
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Don't let the pointy-headed "professors of film" hoodwink you into thinking . . .
tadpole-596-9182569 August 2021
Warning: Spoilers
. . . that STILLWATER is some nuanced, subtle N-E-O N-O-I-R layer cake that you'd need four college degrees to fully grasp and appreciate. STILLWATER is as hard-hat, in-you-face, blue-collar as GOOD WILL HUNTING. It deserves highest marks for warning Americans to stay out of the foreign regions that our President decreed to be "S-hole" nations, such as Italy, Greece and France. As deftly documented in STILLWATER, the latter failed country lacks the basics of Civilization, such as adequate room keys, working lights, flush toilets or a language that makes sense. Worse yet, these backwards societies go out of their way to railroad innocent Americans into tiny prison cells on trumped up murder charges at the drop of a hat. But even outside of such deplorable jails, the absolute squalor, soiled surroundings, crumbling edifices, claustrophobic confinement, musty milieu and mildewed furnishings depicted throughout this film cry out to all right-thinking U. S. Citizens to avoid France like the Plague!
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