This US indie hit is based on the story of a small-town teen from Montana, Mickey, Camila Morrone (“Death Wish” “Never Goin’ Back”), whose high school graduation is looming.
She is feeling the tug-of-war between the freedom she craves and the love she has for her father Hank, James Badge Dale (“The Departed” “World War Z”), whose leg injury while serving in Iraq has turned him into an alcoholic and full-blown addict.
First-time writer/ director Annabelle Attanasio has done a fantastic job here; the story is both raw and delicate. The on-screen performances pull at every heart string and the cinematography is stunning.
Camila Morrone, a relatively unknown actress (who also happens to be the girlfriend of Hollywood legend Leonardo DiCaprio) absolutely shines in this film. I’m sure she will be cast in bigger ventures in the near future. Her performance as Mickey felt established and could prove to be a real breakthrough role.
Mickey, as the protagonist of the film, is wrapped in a constant battle with her father Hank, leaving her isolated and planning her potential escape. Morrone delivers a character whose deep-rooted attachment to Hank prevents her from finding fulfillment in her own life.
Hank, played by James Badge Dale, is an incredibly frustrating character who leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Clearly a troubled soul, Hank battles with his PTSD as well as his numerous addictions.
James Badge Dale gives an assured, career-defining performance as Hank and the relationship between him and Mickey is as utterly compelling as it is incredibly toxic. The way the film explores abusive parental relationships is uncomfortable yet enlightening and visually addictive.
The film’s conclusion is satisfying, but you can’t help but feel emotionally drained when the credits roll. The power of the story is undeniable and I’m sure Attanasio will become a future great. Mickey and the Bear is a breathtaking indie gem that lives up to its festival success.