‘Stillwater’ Has Sparked Conversation In Hollywood. Hopefully It’s a Catalyst For Change

Matt Damon stars as "Bill" in director Tom McCarthy’s STILLWATER, a Focus Features release.
Jessica Forde / Focus Features

Hey, Hollywooders! What’s Good in the ‘Wood?

I just got back from seeing Stillwater, one of the many new movie releases out now in movie theaters.

I took a look at theaters near me to compare movie showtimes and settled on going to the 9:30 p.m. movie showtime at the AMC Fashion District theater near me. 

Matt Damon plays a father trying to grapple with the injustices of a foreign justice system while his daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, is imprisoned overseas. Bill Baker (Matt Damon) a simple and somber midwesterner dropped out of highschool and has spent his life drinking and doing  drugs, bouncing from one odd job to another. Bill has never really fully landed anywhere and this lifestyle has created a divide between himself and his daughter, Allison (Abigail Breslin), who is abroad in Marseille, France. When Allison is falsely accused and  arrested for the murder of her french roommate and parter, Bill is the only person who can come to her rescue . With no knowledge of French culture and an estranged relationship with his daughter, Bill travels to France to prove his daughter’s innocence. 

Watch the trailer of Stillwater here:

Stillwater Is Based On A True Story 

Stillwater is loosely based off of the well known story of Amanda Knox, who spent time in an Italian prison for being wrongfully accused of murder. Amanda had a lot to say about the film, posting a Twitter thread of her thoughts on the film. The director of Stillwater, Tom McCarthy, has been vocal about the inspiration for the premise of Stillwater, using Amanda’s story as a launchpad for the film. Amanda Knox’s story had been used countlessly since the events that took place in 2007, and she is tired of seeing her story re-told time and time again by people other than her. In an interview with Vulture, Amanda eloquently said, 

“If you want to fictionalize a story, really fictionalize it. Or be prepared to contend with a subject who found her voice during those years in literal lockdown.”

Amanda believes it is the directors responsibility to draw the line between reality and fiction when basing a film off of a true story. The fact that Abigail Breslin’s character was seemingly guilty, reflects back on Amanda, and more people will have preconceived notions. When someone experiences trauma to this degree, it can take years to overcome, and Hollywood needs to be more sensitive to the healing process. 

Hopefully, this is an opportunity to open up a discussion about directors re-telling someone’s story, and that this is a catalyst for change in Hollywood. 

Although Amanda had a lot to say about Stillwater, she kept a lighthearted attitude, saying she would still like to see the film. 

“Oh, I would absolutely go see it — especially if they invited me to. [Laughs] That would be nice.”

Aside from this, Stillwater had strong qualities, presenting flawed, yet loveable characters and Matt Damon gives a strong and compelling performance as Bill Baker. Reactions from moviegoers were all across the map, but it may be worth going to see Stillwater for yourself.

Fans React To The Release of Stillwater

Some people skipped the film entirely because of Amanda Knox’s compelling essay. 

Kimerly saw Stillwater in theaters, and said it was an ‘awesome, thought-provoking film’

Antony thought Stillwater had a great ensemble. 

This person used Stillwater as an opportunity to reference the classic film, Almost Famous

Jacob thought Abigail Breslin’s performance was the best of her career. 

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