Parents' Guide to

Montana Story

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Violence under the surface in powerful family drama.

Movie R 2022 114 minutes
Montana Story Movie: Poster

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Is It Any Good?

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A beautiful, uncommonly quiet, tender movie, this family drama skips hysterics and theatrics in favor of thoughtful contemplation and gradual reveals, even if it sometimes does get a bit too soft. Veteran directing team David Siegel and Scott McGehee return for the first time since their unsung, nuanced What Maisie Knew for another deeply felt, character-driven piece. Montana Story immediately sets up its characters as smart, caring people who have a palpable longstanding history, both good and bad. When Erin storms through with her barely controlled anger, we might wonder why Cal doesn't respond to it, but he has his reasons.

The siblings are also at odds with their professions. Cal is an engineer who can appreciate the beauty in a carved-out gold mine, while Erin is a farm-to-table cook who has a special relationship with animals. This divide comes into play during a crucial scene in which the power goes out and their father's life support fails; Erin is left in the room with her flesh and blood, while Cal tries to fire up a generator, and everything changes. Montana Story isn't without its flaws: Ace's portrayal as a noble dispenser of wisdom feels stereotypical (even if his wisdom is appreciated), and the conventional score and too many soft songs jar the otherwise delicate mood. Silence would have been far more effective. Nevertheless, this is a powerful movie, both emotional and visual.

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