Does It Matter If STILLWATER Is Loosely Based on Amanda Knox Story?

Focus Features

No. It doesn’t. Now you can move on with your life.

Seriously though, apart from the curious case of Matt Damon not being able to refrain from speaking (yet again), the release of Tom McCarthy’s Stillwater (find my review here) was accompanied by quite a controversy. After Vanity Fair published a piece in which McCarthy admitted that the story was loosely inspired by the case of Amanda Knox, who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for a murder of a fellow student when she was studying in Italy, the entirety of the discourse surrounding the film – such as it was – coalesced around this affair.

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Stillwater (2021)

Participant/Dreamworks

Tom McCarthy’s return behind the camera can be easily called a victim of circumstance and – to an extent – its own marketing mistakes. This story about an Oklahoma roughneck Bill Baker (Matt Damon), who goes to France to visit his imprisoned daughter Allison (the ever-wonderful Abigail Breslin) and then embarks on an impromptu detective quest to set her free in a country he does not understand at all, truly lends itself to be torn apart based wholly on how the film has been introduced into the zeitgeist. Problem is, Stillwater should not be torn apart, but lauded because it’s much greater than you might think.

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