Mickey and the Bear
2019, 88 minutes, Digital, NR
Director: Annabelle Attanasio
Cast: Camila Morrone, James Badge Dale, Calvin Demba, Ben Rosenfield, and Rebecca Henderson
Annabelle Attanasio’s debut feature is a coming-of-age story with anti-war underpinnings. Mickey Peck (Camila Morrone) is in her last year of high school shouldering way more burdens than a typical 18 year old. Dealing with a boyfriend, who seems only to want to get her pregnant and start a small-town life together, contemplating college on the West Coast, working part time in a taxidermy shop, and most dauntingly, taking care of her very damaged father, Hank (James Badge Dale), a PTSD-afflicted, Oxy-addicted Iraq War veteran.
It’s not hard to guess who the bear is in this father-daughter late capitalism melodrama. Hank is trouble in every way: getting into fights, spending countless nights in the drunk tank, an unhealthy obsession with his guns, and he’s blowing through his disability checks and Oxy prescription. But these are the least of Mickey’s woes regarding her father.
Shot on location in Anaconda, Montana, a small mining town where many folks seem to be dying of cancer or are irreparably damaged by their involvement in U.S. military aggression. At times bleak, the director keeps things from getting predictable and offers a fresh take on the coming of age story. It also helps that the film is beautifully shot in neutral and muted colors by cinematographer Conor Murphy.
No one actor steals the show in this taut indie drama. Standout performances by Morrone and Dale are bolstered by an excellent supporting cast. Mickey and the Bear leaves you eager to see what any of them will do next. (Joe Tropea)
South by Southwest Film Festival
Maryland Film Festival