Review by Dan Skip Allen
Montana Story was a festival darling when it debuted back at TIFF 2021. It's another neo-Western set, as the title suggests, in Montana. This genre is usually a good one, and Montana Story takes homage from other modern-day westerns and gives them a spin of its own that isn't normal for this genre.
Two siblings (Owen Teague and Haley Lu Richardson) are estranged. They had separated years before due to physical abuse from their father. They have to come back home from New York and Wyoming to care for their ailing father. Throw in an African caregiver and a Native American maid/caretaker, and you have a pretty depressing family drama.
We've all had ailing relatives in our lives, and they can be a bit of a problem for those having to take care of them, whether it's a financial problem or a time issue. It's not easy for family members to get away from their busy lives and go worry about a sick relative. If you were close to them, maybe it wouldn't be such a burden, but it's not an easy task for these two siblings to come back to look after this bad man
When a family member is sick, their estate also has to be dealt with, and sometimes that's not easy. In this case, the family lived on a sprawling ranch in Montana. There are some vehicles and animals that have to be dealt with, in addition to his debts and all of the property. That's the bulk of this film. It's pretty mundane, to be honest.
The actors in the film, with Richardson being the most famous, make the most of this script. They use everything they have in their acting repertoire to try to make this story engaging and interesting. I just found the story boring and plotting, and it dragged along even when they had to go on a road trip in the middle of the film. I didn't care that much about these two people.
Montana Story is a film that may have played well at a film festival last year, but it just doesn't play well in this sphere we live in today coming out of the COVID pandemic. I don't think people want to be reminded of a sick relative right now. We've all felt this illness a lot and all its permutations over the last two and half years. The cast and directors do the best job they can to try to make this film interesting, but it's just boring and plotting and drags along. Bleecker Street bought another film with no soul, and it isn't very good.
Montana Story hits theaters on May 13.