Very expressive young actors playing siblings Cal (Owen Teague of The Stand and I See You) and Erin (Haley Lou Richardson of Five Feet Apart and Edge of Seventeen) in Montana Story . “as well worth seeing as the majestic scenery of Montana itself.
This “Story” of family betrayal, regret, and redemption is very similar to the Montana landscape wrapped in Native American culture, from atmospheric songs played on the radio during copious countryside trips, echoing the distance between characters, to heartbreaking news, carefully placed on television. . in the background, filling even the airwaves in this film with the desperation of our players.
Contemporary local life is casually portrayed in patient performances by a few local actors as constant reminders to appreciate land, animals, and even invasive species that supplant everything native.
Against this very literal backdrop of pure America, Erin and Cal’s father lies in a hospice in their childhood home, as hated now as ever, but Cal is left alone to care for him, as Erin made a traumatic sudden departure many years ago after her death. her father. beloved horse and a particularly cruel beating at the hands of his father.
She never forgave him or her brother for not stepping in to protect her, and they haven’t spoken since they were both adults. Erin comes home only to give her assailant a cheeky look, but instead finds a desiccated, comatose man who is cared for like a child, and this only opens her wounds. Cal convinces her to stay long enough to learn about each other’s lives (Erin became a chef in upstate New York and Cal graduated from college in Wyoming with an engineering degree) and looks after the remaining animals on their ancestral farm until it is liquidated.
An aging horse unexpectedly becomes Erin’s focus and a touchstone for the film, because it’s easier to take care of an animal that can’t hurt you than a human being, now behind an unattainable apology.
She is determined to save this horse as she was unable to save her childhood horse and first plans to buy a trailer to take it to New York with her and then find a nice local home for her.
In this quest, we learn that not all animals are equal in her eyes, because one night she kills a chicken with her bare hands, being a chef from farm to table, in one tender moment lovingly preparing a special dish for her brother and her father’s guardian (because food is still love).
This scene turns the movie into something of a gourmet movie like Babette’s Feast or The Pig, but only for a little while as storms simultaneously cut off power to her father’s kitchen and medical equipment, and a choice and redress must be made. to your family once and for all.
Directors/writers Scott McGehee and David Siegel have already worked together on the extremely touching What Maisie Knew and the twisted thriller Edge of the Catcher, but A Montana Story lacks any of those films’ exquisite features.
Instead, the young protagonists carry the essence of the film with their bewitchingly honest performances that heal old wounds in their characters and viewers, but the surprising decisions they make without words as they approach the end of two lives leave an indelible scar.
Simony Wilson, whose love of cinema began as a child in the 70s when she traveled with her family in a car, has lived in Northland for more than a decade. She is a board member of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle and a member of the Women Film Critics Circle. She can be contacted online at www.facebook.com/RedVineReviewer.