DVD REVIEW: ‘Montana Story’ peels back the layers of family suffering | Movies

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BRUCE R. MILLER

If you happened to miss “Montana Story” when it hit theaters last month, you might want to catch it now, because it’s coming to the domestic market.

Extremely atmospheric and full of secrets, it’s packed with detail. And yet, this quiet little story about a brother and sister coming to say goodbye to their father never feels bloated.

Often, indeed, we are thirsty for information, in particular on the man in the coma victim of a CVA.

Son Cal (Owen Teague) has come home to assess the situation and take care of Dad’s “business”. He discusses everything calmly – including the details of his past. And then her sister Erin (Haley Lu Richardson) shows up and there’s tension. She had a falling out at one point, and gradually directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel reveal what happened to the family and why there is resentment.

Telling the truth takes time (perhaps too much) but the revelations feel natural, especially since no one is there simply to fill in the gaps.

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We see lanky Cal go through selling a car, saying goodbye to a beloved horse, and dealing with a stranger (dad’s nurse, nicely played by Gilbert Owuor), but we need Erin to dramatic tension. When she finally explains her reluctance, there’s a discussion that should have happened years ago. That’s good – especially since it explains why she’s so unsympathetic during Dad’s last days. And there’s a whole other drama waiting to play out, perhaps in flashback.

McGehee and Siegel don’t go there but they capture this slow world that exists in the Midwest. They also drop names and references to events that anyone out there would consider legitimate.

Where “Montana Story” needs help is in those opening moments where it teases what kind of movie it’s going to be. The beautiful cinematography, crisp detail, and expressionless faces are fine, but they shouldn’t be taken to extremes.

Luckily, Teague is an excellent tour guide, taking us through the family farm, showing us the nuances of the house, stopping before we kiss dad. He takes full advantage of his interaction with Owuor and has a great time with the horse, MT

But “Montana Story” wouldn’t be a story without Erin. She holds the key that Cal only thinks he has. When she delivers her story, the film resonates.

Aside from the beat, “Montana Story” has its moments and a collection of great performances. Richardson has already made a name for himself in other films. But it could put Teague on the map. He shows that he is able to convey emotions without a histrionic “Yellowstone” display. He’s an excellent leader who doesn’t move – or talk – aimlessly. It’s something a movie like this deserves.

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