Montana Story

Montana Story
Original title:Montana Story
Director:Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Running time:113 minutes
Release date:13 may 2022
Cal and Erin, in their twenties, are siblings but haven't spoken to each other in years. Their father has suffered a stroke and they travel to his family ranch where he is now living on life support. Years of resentment and unspoken words resurface when they must make decisions that could change their lives forever, despite the emotional distance that separates them.

Mulder's Review

This year, the American film festival of Deauville will not only have offered many new films in previews but also films never seen before in France such as Montana Story written and directed by Scott McGehee, David Siegel and already released in the United States since May 13, 2022. Of course this film deserves to be discovered but we can remain skeptical about its distribution, suspecting that with no known names on the poster such a film will end up either on a streaming platform such as Netflix or Prime Video or in VOD.  Yet Montana Story turns out to have an interesting approach to grief, family and the ghosts of the past.

The story takes place mainly in the house of Cal (Owen Teague) and Erin's (Haley lu Richardson) father, who after a stroke is on life support. Cal and Erin, who are in their twenties, haven't spoken to each other in years due to events that took place on their father Cal's ranch that have scarred their memories forever. Yet they are forced to come to their father's bedside and talk to each other. As in many films based on the near death of one of the characters, the film is essentially based on the conflicting relationship between Cal and Erin, oscillating between events of the past and their consequences on the present. 

The directors and co-writers are virtually unknown in France despite the fact that they have already made several films together (Suture (1994), Lush (1999), The Deep end (2001), Bee season (2005), Uncertainty (2008), What Maisie Knew (2012)). Their new film benefits not only from the beautiful Montana landscape but also from the importance of horses on a ranch as a means of escape and appeasement. The setting of the film will remind many of certain westerns by its natural spaces in which we find only houses isolated from everything. This setting in which nature seems to have won against intensive urbanization brings to the film a certain charm. 

The story told here is simple and universal, yet by its universality Montana Story turns out to be a fascinating and really immersive film that leads the audience to meditate on their past mistakes, on the fact that family is important and above all that it is necessary to know how to move forward no matter what to be fulfilled and happy in life. Certainly the financial problems of Cal and Erin's father will make that their family farm will be sold but the horse of their domain will not be slaughtered and will have found a new welcoming home with other horses to our greatest pleasure.

Montana Story
Written and directed by Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Story by Mike Spreter, Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Produced by Scott McGehee, David Siegel Jennifer Roth
Starring Haley Lu Richardson, Owen Teague, Gilbert Owuor, Kimberly Guerrero, Eugene Brave Rock, Asivak Koostachin
Cinematography: Giles Nuttgens
Edited by Isaac Hagy
Music by Kevin Morby
Production company : Big Creek
Distributed by Bleecker Street (United States), Stage 6 Films (International)
Release dates : September 12, 2021 (TIFF), May 13, 2022 (United States)
Running time : 113 minutes

Seen on September 8, 2022 at the Deauville International Centre

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