Oscar winning director –and actor – Tom McCarthy has long been a favorite in my household: His 2003 Peter Dinklage/Patricia Clarkson/Bobby Cannavale slice of life movie The Station Agent is at least once a year excavated from its DVD case (no Blu-ray release as of yet, alas) and enjoyed and appreciated for the lovely and quiet gem it is. Of course the big feather in his cap is probably 2015’s Spotlight for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. While not the feel good movie of that year, it’s a real achievement and a revealing eye-opener that, though based off of sadly true events, plays like a taut thriller. Yep, it’s a safe bet that ye olde scribbler of words is a confirmed card-carrying fan of Mr. McCarthy; Which is one of the reasons why I’m dancing a Frug at the moment with the breaking news from Variety that the stalwart multi-hyphenated talent is set to have his latest film Stillwater released theatrically this July.
No, Stillwater is not the long awaited sequel to Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, but rather a film about a father who rushes to France after he learns that his estranged daughter has been accused of murder. The story focuses on his efforts to prove her innocence. Featuring an all-star cast that includes the likes of Matt Damon (School Ties, Men Don’t Leave), Camille Cottin (Call My Agent!), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Idir Azougli (BAC Nord), Stillwater has been eagerly awaited by movie buffs since our pals over at Variety exclusively announced the Focus Features film back in May of 2019.
When announcing Stillwater back in the halcyon pre-pandemic Golden Age, David Linde of Participant – the production house the Stillwater team calls home – said that “The opportunity to reunite with Tom after Spotlight and to partner with our friend and colleague Jonathan King for the first time in his new role makes Stillwater a very special film for everyone at Participant. This is a wonderful script, centered on universal themes of connection and the search for truth, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring it to audiences around the world.”
Even with the vaccine train huffing and puffing down the tracks, it was no sure bet in some pundit’s minds that Stillwater would get a genuine theatrical release, which makes the announcement of a July 30, 2021 release a cause for celebration if you’re of the school of thought that a film needs to be seen on a big screen to be properly and fully appreciated. Ye olde writer runs hot and cold on that philosophy, taking each film on an individual basis before determining the venue of enjoyment. The Godfather or Citizen Kane on a big screen is a necessity; Troll II maybe not as much so. With Tom McCarthy’s latest film my Magic 8 Ball indicates that this is one for the Cineplex if you can do so safely.