Is Stillwater based on a true story? Plot sparks Amanda Knox comparisons

Olivia Olphin July 13, 2021
Is Stillwater based on a true story? Plot sparks Amanda Knox comparisons
Photo credit should read P. Lehman/Barcroft Media via Getty Images


Matt Damon’s new crime film Stillwater debuted at Cannes on 8 July to strong reviews. The movie had been pushed back from its initial release date in November 2020 due to the covid pandemic. Fans of The Martian star are wondering if this film is based on a true story, and when they can finally see it in cinemas. We tell you everything you need to know.

What is Stillwater about?

Stillwater sees Oklahoma oil worker, Bill Baker (Matt Damon), find out that his estranged daughter Allison (Abigail Breslin) has just been arrested in Marseille, France, for murder.

His daughter has been falsely arrested for allegedly murdering her friend Lina. This causes Bill to fly over to France to try and clear her name.

The film is a tense look at the French legal system, and the lengths to which a father would go for his daughter.

  • MOVIES: Where was Stillwater filmed?

Stillwater is directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy, known for his work on the Oscar-winning 2015 film Spotlight. Fellow writers on the film include Marcus Hinchey, Thomas Bidegain and Noe Debre.

McCarthy also previously directed two episodes of the hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why.

STILLWATER – Official Trailer [HD] – In Theaters July 30

STILLWATER – Official Trailer [HD] – In Theaters July 30

The film stars Zombieland actor Abigail Breslin, as well as Allied actor Camille Cottin, who plays a French woman Virginie who attempts to help Bill free his daughter.

Is Stillwater based on a true story?

Yes, Stillwater is based on the true story of Amanda Knox, however, it is only loosely based on these real-life events.

Amanda Knox was found guilty of murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher, while she was studying in Italy in 2007. She spent four years of her sentence in prison before being acquitted by the Italian Supreme Court in 2011.

However, this acquittal was overturned in 2013 and she was again convicted of this murder in 2014. Finally this was overturned again in 2015.

Stillwater follows a similar pattern of events, with Allison being wrongfully convicted of murder while studying abroad. The film also explores the difficulties of overturning a ruling in a justice system that is foreign to you.

Matt Damon confirmed that Stillwater is “based kind of loosely” on this case.

Where can you watch Matt Damon’s new film?

Stillwater officially releases in theatres on 30 July 2021 in the USA and 6 August 2021 in the UK.

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We can’t wait to be back in cinemas and experience this film on the big screen.

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Olivia Olphin is an English Literature graduate and a film and literature fanatic. She has many years of reviewing experience, recently working as accredited press for the London Film Festival. She has also written widely about culture and sex education, as well as LGBTQ+ and women's issues.