I’ve never been to Montana. I haven’t been to plenty of places in the United States. Mickey and the Bear isn’t necessarily about Montana. It’s about people in these tricky, somewhat no-win situations across the country. Stuff that so many people go through. Money is tight. Opportunity is barren. The only plausible life direction points down.
Mickey Peck is at a dead end. A high school senior dating a boy with little ambition, and caring for a father who relies on OxyContin. She needs something different. A new situation. A mentor to tell her she can do more with her life. That she can be on her own.
Earlier this year I wrote about the movies I liked best from 2019. I didn’t see every movie I wanted to see before making it. Mickey and the Bear is one I highlighted as a movie I strongly wanted to see, but didn’t have the opportunity until recently. It’s the movie I gravitate toward—a mundane yet compelling story about self-discovery. A story that happens every single day. It feels almost personal.
First-time director Annabelle Attanasio, only 26, left her role as Cable McCrory in the CBS legal drama series Bull to create this feature film. It’s an achievement to make such a compelling and gut-wrenching story where only life happens. There isn’t anything out of the ordinary that transpires. Except people going through real shit.
Camilia Morrone plays Mickey. She starred in a 2018 movie called Never Goin’ Back when she played a teenage girl, but she couldn’t have been more different in that role, which shows her range and versatility as an emerging actress. As Mickey, she typically makes calculated decisions in a steady, calming way. She wants to be there for her father. Even though she’s sick of his bullshit.
Befriending Wyatt (Calvin Demba) exposes her to what could be. He’s not her immature boyfriend Aron (Ben Rosenfield)—Wyatt has talent, a dream, and a path to be far from Montana.
Her father Hank (James Badge Dale) has a drinking problem to pair with his injury. The under funded VA can only provide him and Mickey so much. Watkins (Rebecca Henderson) can’t help but feel for Mickey. She’s in charge of the VA—with few resources to work with, she wrestles with what’s right and what’s protocol. It’s their friendship that proves to have a lasting impact on Mickey.