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Hall reviews "Stillwater"

This week on "Justin Hall At The Movies," I'll be reviewing Matt Damon as he fights to save his daughter in "Stillwater."

Stillwater is a drama that mixes familiar themes with a screenplay that may seem formulaic, but in this case, the formula works and becomes genuinely engaging.

Matt Damon stars as Bill Baker, an oil rig worker living in Stillwater, Oklahoma who sets off to Marseilles, France to help exonerate his daughter Alison (Abigail Breslin) after she's been charged with murder.

Bill asks for help despite not knowing a word of French until he comes in contact with a single mother (Camille Cottin). Her eight-year-old daughter Maya (Lilou Siauvaud) immediately takes a liking to Bill after they attempt to teach him about French culture and he attempts to make them Americanized roughnecks.

One of the movie's best qualities is the whole family dynamics on both fronts. We learn that both Bill and his daughter have been estranged for some time and the mother/daughter allows Bill the chance to redeem himself from the mistakes he made of not being in Allison's life.

Equal parts character study and intriguing mystery, Stillwater avoids being an edgy thriller and focuses more on quieter scenes that are more impactful with a spoonful of moral ambiguity thrown in for good measure.

Did Allison commit the murder or not? Will Bill be able to prove her innocence? The movie twists our expectations so that none of the characters in any of their circumstances will know how they're going to end. Neither do we.

Grade: A- (Rated R for language.)

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