When we meet Bill (Matt Damon) we can tell immediately he's a bit "down on his luck." He was laid off from the oil fields and now does odd construction jobs, but can't find anything permanent. In between all of this, he jets off to Marseille, France to visit his daughter Allison (Abigail Breslin) who has been imprisoned there for five years for a crime she swears she didn't commit. When Allison's lawyer refuses to chase a new lead, Bill takes it upon himself to find answers on his daughter's behalf, along with the help of a woman he meets along the way, Virginie (Camille Cotton) and her sweet daughter, Maya. (Lilou Siauvaud)
This is director Tom McCarthy's follow up to the spectacular Spotlight and while it doesn't reach that level, it's very engaging. Bill wasn't an easy character for me to get in to. In fact, I was annoyed with him almost immediately as perpetuated a lot of those "ugly American tourist" stereotypes. But even if he isn't likable, his story had me hooked. I was surprised at the point we entered it. I expected the film to be more about the immediate aftermath of Allison's arrest, but we never see a courtroom. It's all in the past.
The highlight of the film (aside from how GORGEOUS everything in France looks) is the relationship between Bill, Virginie and Maya. It's very sweet and I really enjoyed how Bill and Virginie's relationship progressed. A different film might have had them hook up immediately and be a couple, but Stillwater isn't interested in that.
Lilou Siauvaud is one of the best child actors I've seen in a long time. She was so adorable. I absolutely loved this kid. Damon also gives a really good performance. and Cotton was a treat as well. Breslin doesn't get a whole lot to do, but she's solid with what she's given.
My biggest gripe with the film was how they wrapped up the ending. Like I mentioned before, this is a pretty slow burn, and there's a wrench thrown in everything at the 11th hour which again was unexpected, but the film wraps itself up so quickly I had to wonder why? It spent so much time on everything else, why not devote a little more time to this?
If you like a good character drama, this one is for you. It might not be McCarthy's best, but it's very watchable.
Memorable Quote: "Do you really own a gun?" - Virginie (Camille Cotton)