"Who owns my name?"
July 30, 2021 5:38 AM   Subscribe

"Does my name belong to me? My face? What about my life? My story? Why does my name refer to events I had no hand in? I return to these questions because others continue to profit off my name, face, & story without my consent." A Twitter thread (also a post on Medium) by Amanda Knox (previously), in response to Matt Damon’s new film Stillwater, "hamfistedly inspired" by her story.
posted by bitteschoen (71 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Medium essay is a powerful piece of writing, clear-eyed and direct: disgusting that she needs to write it at all. I'm continually in awe of the power of women (Lewinsky another) in recovering from their soul-destroying treatment at the hands of the media.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 6:55 AM on July 30 [32 favorites]


Does my name belong to me? My face? What about my life? My story?

this serves as a pretty solid definition of fame for me -- when your name, face, story, life have become things that others feel they have a claim on. Some people want fame, of course, do crazy things to get it, but others like Amanda Knox -- it just happens to. Puts Andy Warhol's (misattributed) "fifteen minutes of fame" quote into sinister context. As an artist friend once put it, "People misinterpret that line big time. They think it's some kind of nifty promise, but it's a threat. In this mass-mediated world, true success requires an avoidance of fame. Otherwise, you just become a target for all kinds of craziness."

(or words to that effect)
posted by philip-random at 6:57 AM on July 30 [13 favorites]


Feel free to read the thread or article!
posted by stevil at 7:17 AM on July 30 [57 favorites]


No it doesn't use her name or face but it is directly inspired by her story according to the director himself, as stated in the Vanity Fair article she references and links to in the thread/post.

Here's a recap in the Guardian now
posted by bitteschoen at 7:17 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Does the film use her name or face?


doesn't look like it does. Allison Baker according to the wiki.
posted by philip-random at 7:18 AM on July 30


If you read the Medium article, you'll see things like Stillwater was “directly inspired by the Amanda Knox saga.” Director Tom McCarthy tells Vanity Fair, “he couldn’t help but imagine how it would feel to be in Knox’s shoes.” and He became interested in the family dynamics of the “Amanda Knox saga.” “Who are the people that are visiting [her], and what are those relationships? Like, what’s the story around the story?” and A few years ago, there was the Fox series Proven Innocent, which was developed and marketed as “What if Amanda Knox became a lawyer?”.

So, you know, read the article.
posted by cooker girl at 7:20 AM on July 30 [39 favorites]


From the Medium article: "And if you’re going to “leave the Amanda Knox case behind,” and “fictionalize everything around it,” maybe don’t use my name to promote it. You’re not leaving the Amanda Knox case behind very well if every single review mentions me. You’re not leaving the Amanda Knox case behind when my face appears on profiles and articles about the film."

I wasn't sure if I was with her before this part. Inspiration comes from so many things; the idea of this case could easily be a jumping point for a much bigger, mostly fictional tale. But then... don't use her name: not when developing it with other people, not when having someone read/edit it, not when pitching it to producers, not to give the actors a background, and definitely not to promote the film when talking to the media.

Also, as she mentions, there is no obligation to talk to her (especially if they are "leaving her story behind"), but once she is described by name, it feels pretty wrong not to do so.
posted by Laura in Canada at 7:30 AM on July 30 [48 favorites]


From the trailer:

Damon: I'm tryin to git my little girl outta jail right now!!
French woman (scared): You sound very American right now
Damon: Good - I AM

lol utter trash
posted by windbox at 7:30 AM on July 30 [25 favorites]


So she says she was able to sue in the case of the Lifetime movie and get changes made to it, though they were still able to show it. Maybe she can't with Stillwater because it's "inspired" by her story? I'm sure that there are teams of lawyers figuring out exactly how far they can go in exploiting Knox without actually breaking the law, but this does make me wonder about how much protection she actually has.

She is very eloquent in her article, and it's just revolting that she has to deal with this after all she's been through.
posted by FencingGal at 7:30 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


... from the trailer it just looked like...

Complete opposite take from me - I immediately thought about "that poor kid" (without knowing her name, but remembering her story) - and it seemed to me a blatant rip-off, but this time with "American-daddy-might" swooping in to rescue her...
posted by rozcakj at 7:35 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


I always thought writers, directors, and producers were more careful about maintaining plausible deniability when discussing works that were "ripped from the headlines".

If these guys are going around the interview circuit and saying "yeah, we based it on the Amanda Knox case", then I don't think there's any denying that the public is going to conflate fictionalized elements with reality and I think that's an entirely separate problem from the issue about who "owns" a story. At this point they're deliberately referencing real people to generate publicity for their fictionalized derivative work.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:36 AM on July 30 [16 favorites]


Really, please read the damn article or Twitter thread before commenting here. Have that much respect for us on Metafilter. And for Amanda Knox.

I'm struck by the modern global scale of this problem. 200 years ago a story like Amanda's would play out only in her own town, no one outside would know her. Unless maybe it became a folk tale, a rare and abstract occurrence. Now she's suffered a multi-year global news exposure, several adaptations including this new feature film. And she's able to speak to all of us globally about her experience. Not just the awfulness of having her story told falsely, outside her power. But the strangeness of how it happens, how she's involved even if technically her image isn't in the movie.

One of my favorite cultural themes is how the scale of databases and electronic media changes aspects of human culture. The phenomenon Knox is talking about is a terrible one and I appreciate both her defense of herself and her subtle explication of it.

I submit that Greta Thunberg's story is an example of a positive version of this same phenomenon. She and her movement have used this global attention mechanism to change the world for better, very shrewdly. Of course she has the benefit of having chosen the terms of engagement in a way Knox cannot.
posted by Nelson at 8:04 AM on July 30 [18 favorites]


Of course she has the benefit of having chosen the terms of engagement in a way Knox cannot.

Uh... I think you might have missed the huge amount of negative attention that climate denialists, incumbent energy-sector actors and right-wing nutjobs have heaped on Greta over the last several years... It is horrifying that people will do this to a literal child (well, technically I guess she is an adult now - but she was a teenager when the nasty memes started).
posted by rozcakj at 8:23 AM on July 30 [14 favorites]


Oh no I haven't missed that at all. I'm just focusing on the positive. I think Thunberg's message has worked despite the hate it's also attracted.
posted by Nelson at 8:24 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


I've been seeing the commercials for the Lifetime movie "Harry and Meghan: Escaping the Palace." It's not even "inspired by." I think it must be absolutely horrible to have your life turned into entertainment fodder, especially while you're still living it. They found actors who look like them and have been coached to sound like them. So disgusting...

Good on Amanda for speaking up. And Stillwater sounds awful.
posted by shoesietart at 8:28 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


This is what The Crown does as well, and I'm not seeing a lot of complaints about that. Even Prince Harry has said it's better than tabloid stories because it's fiction.

I watched the first season of The Crown but stopped because the historical inaccuracies were making me angry.
posted by FencingGal at 8:38 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


I really don't know anything about her case but uh... how could you stop someone from being inspired by your life and creating some fictionalized alt-version of it?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:43 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


Has Matt Damon entered the cash grab phase of his career already? Why is he in garbage like this? Maybe if we throw money at him, he’ll take the lead role in a fictionalized version of the Matt Damon Saga.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:43 AM on July 30 [7 favorites]


I really don't know anything about her case but uh... how could you stop someone from being inspired by your life and creating some fictionalized alt-version of it?

IANAL, but I'd venture one could sue them for defamation, on the grounds that -- in this case -- they're saying publicly that their "fictional" story is based on an actual person.

I see that as the point Knox makes at the end of her thread, when she proposes writing a screenplay based on an extremely thinly disguised version of Marr Damon. Of course Damon, who has a reputation to protect and the money to hire lawyers, would sue. Knox is entitled to the same justice.
posted by Gelatin at 8:54 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


"Inspired by" or "based on a true story" shows and movies are incredibly common, I mean Law and Order made bank on them for twenty plus years because people love those sorts of stories so much. Seeing "real" stories pounded into fictionalized narratives that follow genre conventions make the stories much more relatable for a good portion of the audience, as the formal rules of fiction are so much clearer than the messiness of real life. There's also the "fun" of getting to play with alternatives to the real events, the "what if" aspect to the stories, where there can either be a suggestion of motivation or situation that reality didn't provide but didn't necessarily entirely deny if you have enough imagination or where the story is just much cooler if told in the fictionalized form, real life be damned. Entertainment is the important thing.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:54 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


I think her point is more about the ethical rather than legal aspects of what the movie is doing. It may be common to fictionalize true stories but there are ethical standards for going about it and normally, ideally, when the person whose life is being fictionalized is still alive, she should be consulted or have a say in the fictional version of her life. Especially when it involves an actual wrongful conviction and a tabloid witch hunt for which she wasn’t really ever compensated.
posted by bitteschoen at 9:15 AM on July 30 [23 favorites]


how could you stop someone from being inspired by your life and creating some fictionalized alt-version of it?

She's quite thoughtful on that question in the article. Perhaps we should take what she says about the impossibility of that as a starting point for this conversation.
posted by Nelson at 9:16 AM on July 30 [9 favorites]


Until I read her articles just now, I thought Amanda Knox was a generic famous internet person.
posted by aniola at 9:25 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I don't agree with some of her argument but I do agree strongly that if the media is to discuss the film as "inspired by" her story, basic competence and ethics require that they not do so in a way that leaves a misimpression as to the actual events (Pete Hammond!).
posted by praemunire at 9:27 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


I really did not follow this story beyond the most vague awareness of it at the time, I appreciate bitteschoen sharing this today as it provides a perspective on fame/infamy that is somewhat unique. I mean, for all these ill-fated stars to align and for this situation to persist up to a bloody Matt Damon film, that is just bizarre. What a nightmare.
posted by elkevelvet at 9:36 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


It may be common to fictionalize true stories but there are ethical standards for going about it and normally, ideally, when the person whose life is being fictionalized is still alive, she should be consulted or have a say in the fictional version of her life.

There are standards, but I can't speak to the absolute legal definitions of them. When something is claimed to be "based on a true story" for example, it at least generally means someone was paid for their version of events in order for them to be fictionalized, likely because some element of the story was too unique to be passed off as just "inspired by".

But even that can pose the problem of whose story is being told, if it's one person's side, then another person's take on those same events might well be slighted. The movie/show may pay for "my" story, but those I've interacted with may not like how I've presented our encounters any more than I would like having my life fictionalized without my say so. (And to be clear, I would hate it and feel for Knox in having to go through this, but it is complicated and that was true even in Knox's case where she went from villainess to unjustly imprisoned American heroine in various parts of the media as things unfolded.)
posted by gusottertrout at 9:38 AM on July 30


Gonna be interesting to compare and contrast the responses to this thread to the responses to Cat Person and Me.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:41 AM on July 30 [11 favorites]


Gonna be interesting to compare and contrast the responses to this thread to the responses to Cat Person and Me.

I'm not sure I see the parallels. Cat Person was published as fiction, and there was nothing to indicate that it was based on a particular person or based on a true story. It rang true insofar as it hit a lot of the same notes as many other people's experiences. It didn't occur to pretty much any reader that it was based on an actual particular person until that person decided to say so.

If anything, it's the inverse, because the storywriters of Knox-alikes aren't even doing the courtesy of keeping her name out of it. They're explicitly saying that their stories are based on her experience, even if only in interviews.
posted by explosion at 9:49 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


Has Matt Damon entered the cash grab phase of his career already? Why is he in garbage like this?

my guess is he signed on because Tom McCarthy was directing (and he wrote it). Spotlight wasn't exactly garbage. I also notice (via that wiki link) that contrary to what the Guardian review is suggesting, the critical response hasn't really been that bad.

Still doesn't excuse how Amanda Knox has been treated.
posted by philip-random at 9:51 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


"Based on an untrue story."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:00 AM on July 30 [14 favorites]


Yeah sorry I only linked to the Guardian review in the post and not to other reviews, I liked their description of it but I didn’t mean to suggest the film was universally disliked - it did actually receive a 5-minute standing ovation at Cannes
posted by bitteschoen at 10:03 AM on July 30


This is what The Crown does as well, and I'm not seeing a lot of complaints about that.

There’s kind of a significant difference in empowerment between the unimaginably wealthy royal family of one of the most powerful nations on earth and a random woman who became infamous against her will as spent four years of her early adulthood in prison in a foreign country for a crime she didn’t commit.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:10 AM on July 30 [57 favorites]


Firstly I think this movie doesn't serve a good purpose, and I sympathize with Knox over her concerns regarding it and the unfairness to her.

I'm struck by the modern global scale of this problem. 200 years ago a story like Amanda's would play out only in her own town, no one outside would know her.

I'm going to have to differ on this. The main reason we know her name is because she was a White woman tried in Italy. If she were a Black man in the USA, tried and convicted on the same spotty evidence, not only would we not know her name but quite likely she would still be in prison today.

I'm not being hyperbolic: this is something that almost happened in this very case. Knox falsely testified that the murder was committed by the completely innocent Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba. (No doubt this testimony was under the stress/duress of police interrogation, but it shows that the heroic comparisons to Greta Thunberg are a bit of a stretch. Her recent Medium article never even mentions Lumumba - in spite of how his life was affected by her testimony.)

Based on her testimony, the Black man was arrested in front of his wife and kids in a dawn raid and held in custody for two weeks, until he was cleared due to an alibi: the customers at his bar were able to vouch that he was in the bar at the time. By his own account, this incident ruined his life and business to the point where he left Italy.

And yet - most people commenting in this thread who are well acquainted with Knox's name may have never even heard of Lumumba.

Italy is not unique. The justice system in any country poorly serves - or actively harms - the most vulnerable. We don't have to get hung up on the exoticism of a White American tried in Italy and convicted on spotty evidence. All we have to do if we care is look in our own backyard, where we can find dozens of BIPOC and poor people being falsely and/or unfairly convicted almost every day. I cannot find any reason to believe that this upcoming movie will lead us to have this realization.
posted by splitpeasoup at 10:13 AM on July 30 [92 favorites]


Ugh, everything about this movie just seems so gross. Country-boy salt o' the earth oil-man goes to save his lil girl from them sicko Europeans and teach them some good old fashioned 'Merican justice!
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:16 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


There’s kind of a significant difference in empowerment between the unimaginably wealthy royal family of one of the most powerful nations on earth and a random woman who became infamous against her will as spent four years of her early adulthood in prison in a foreign country for a crime she didn’t commit.

My comment immediately followed a post about the "Harry and Meghan: Escaping the Palace," which is what I was referring to.
posted by FencingGal at 10:19 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I see the parallels.

I think one takeaway that applies to both this and “Cat Person” is that if you’re going to create a work of fiction based on an actual event you should maybe make sure that you’re actually fictionalizing it, which is to say, making it unique and independent enough that it stands alone and will not be construed for the thing that inspired it.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:19 AM on July 30 [11 favorites]


How weird would it be to watch a movie like that based on your lived experiences?

Is it money or hubris that keeps the makers of these accounts from contacting her? Both, I expect.
posted by maxwelton at 10:31 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I think this kind of case is different because of how it can damage the individuals life... again. I honestly knew nothing of this story before this post, and I looked at the (previously) since I hadn't read it before. There were quite a few comments (either outright or paraphrasing) saying "we'll never know the full story" - after she was aquitted. She talks about how people treated her after, it's awful, the whole ordeal was awful, and movies like this that mention someone like her but make it unclear that she was innocent stick with viewers.
She will probably have to deal with more people saying things, eyeing her suspiciously, etc. For what? Money? They could have easily left her out of it completely, instead they decided she wasn't worth their time and didn't care about the consequences to her life.
posted by Laura in Canada at 10:38 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Her recent Medium article never even mentions Lumumba - in spite of how his life was affected by her testimony.

She doesn’t mention Lumumba in this article but does tangentially refer to him in a previous Medium article and Twitter thread:
"They asked me to imagine what might have happened, they suggested scenarios, and then told me these were memories I must have blocked out. Exhausted and traumatized, I signed their statements, implicating myself and my boss. I recanted hours later, which everyone ignored. My boss had a rock-solid alibi, but the police arrested him anyway. And I was blamed for that. And to this day, I am called a liar because of the statements the police pressured me into signing."
posted by bitteschoen at 10:41 AM on July 30 [33 favorites]


We don't have to get hung up on the exoticism of a White American tried in Italy and convicted on spotty evidence.

Yeah...I kind of wish certain white women from wealthy families who have suffered unfair media scrutiny would also think about how their privilege ultimately affected how events played out. Not as the main point, but as an important subsidiary issue.

I think judging the film on the trailer alone is a mistake--watching it, I got a strong sense that it was somewhat deliberately misleading/obscure. (Like that "Good! I am an American!" could end up playing out in several different ways.) Also, the director is not known for mindless USA!-fests. Hard to say, though. I'm just suggesting some caution in that particular respect.
posted by praemunire at 12:11 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I think judging the film on the trailer alone is a mistake--watching it, I got a strong sense that it was somewhat deliberately misleading/obscure

Yeah, Cannes audiences aren't really known for their USA! fervor, so it might be just using the Knox story to explore themes around nationalism and identity in some ways. But that of course would render the ad campaign using Knox's name as a hook even more skeezy for only using it as a jumping off point, which would explain why she wasn't consulted for even the cover of greater authenticity. Not unheard of for Hollywood to make a big deal "consulting" with someone only to ignore their advice in the end, only wanting the publicity.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:34 PM on July 30


Between this movie and Taken, I'm beginning to think that Hollywood has something against France.

I'm going to take this in a different direction and it'll go in the "positive stereotypes" thing akin to Asians being smart at math, but I'm starting to get tired of the trope that Midwesterners all haven't left their little town and just want to sit back and drink Natty Light out of their Silverado until something compels them to take a video game like journey across the world to restore justice. Something about this whole untarnished, American country thing is starting to piss me off. Has anyone here worked with Oklahoma oil dogs? They're hardly naive, country yokels who've been shielded from reality. I've worked with oil dogs and I've worked for large oil corporations and if you don't think they're not sophisticated in geopolitics pulling strings across the world you're naive. That's like going to NYC and thinking everyone is a neurotic, bagel eating intellectual going through the MET while obsessing over the play they're writing.
posted by geoff. at 12:35 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


Between this movie and Taken, I'm beginning to think that Hollywood has something against France.

Taken was a French movie.
posted by octothorpe at 12:43 PM on July 30 [11 favorites]


interesting mix in this thread of not reading the article and judging the movie based on the trailer alone.

Reminds me of the internet.
posted by philip-random at 1:19 PM on July 30 [11 favorites]


Did she speak out about the earlier film, Face of an Angel?
Did her own book get optioned for a film?
posted by Ideefixe at 2:39 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


It seems bizarre to me that people are calling the film garbage or utter trash in this thread. You haven't seen it.

Admittedly the trailer is not great, but Tom McCarthy is an excellent director, and he's not known for making trash. Past films include Spotlight, Win Win, The Station Agent, and The Visitor, all of which were excellent, thoughtful movies.

I also have not seen Stillwater, but I'd heard about it before this thread. Though it's being marketed as a Taken-esque picture, it decidedly is not. My understanding is Damon's character is completely out of his depth and ineffectual and that the film is a tragedy, not an action flick.

Regarding Knox's piece, I think it's both complicated and simple: McCarthy (I believe) was intrigued by the idea of a foreigner being wrongly accused of murder in a country in which they don't belong. That's it. That's the "inspired by" bit. His mistake, and what Knox is calling him out for, is mentioning her while promoting the film. She wants nothing to do with it -- and has nothing to do with it -- so he shouldn't have said her name.

Yes, media would have associated her with it anyway, but then that would have been their fault and not his.
posted by dobbs at 3:08 PM on July 30 [13 favorites]


Matt Damon talked about the movie quite extensively with Marc Maron. Based on the conversation, I don’t think this is a story of a “salt of the earth” Midwesterner going to a furrin’ country to kick ass and take names.

The movie may be more thoughtful and layered than many Mefites are assuming but Amanda Knox has a legitimate complaint. As genuinely thoughtful as Matt Damon appears to be and as well-crafted as I find Tom McCarthy’s films they — at a bare minimum — owe Amanda Knox a very public apology and acknowledgement that they participated in her continuing abuse.

Ms. Knox never chose to be a public figure (unlike, say, Meghan Markle) and she doesn’t have the massive inherited fortune (and political power) of the Windsor family. The distinct impression I’ve had is she only participated as a public figure in order to pay off the enormous legal bills her family incurred to free her. Even when she was making a choice, it was constrained by others in ways she had very little power to change.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 5:24 PM on July 30 [18 favorites]


McCarthy (I believe) was intrigued by the idea of a foreigner being wrongly accused of murder in a country in which they don't belong. That's it. That's the "inspired by" bit.

It's about a woman wrongfully accused of the murder of the woman she lived with. It's virtually identical except they tweaked the motive to make it more in line with the erroneous Italian procecution. I'm no murder expert but I think they could have done more to make it less obviously based on the murder of Meredith Kercher.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:22 PM on July 30


Hollywood is pretty well acquainted with the involvement of oil companies in geopolitics, I think.
posted by bashing rocks together at 7:35 PM on July 30


McCarthy (I believe) was intrigued by the idea of a foreigner being wrongly accused of murder in a country in which they don't belong. That's it. That's the "inspired by" bit.

Also, he chose to go around drawing the direct reference to her life and story. This wasn't people reading into the text, he made it very clear that this is the basis for a story. Given that, I think it does become important how it's represented.
posted by Carillon at 8:08 PM on July 30 [7 favorites]


Suddenly feeling deeply grateful in reference to certain life experiences.

"And if you must refer to the “Amanda Knox saga,” maybe don’t call it, as the The New York Times did in profiling Matt Damon, “the sordid Amanda Knox saga.” Sordid: morally vile. Not a great adjective to have placed next to your name. Repeat something often enough, and people believe it.

Now, Stillwater is by no means the first thing to rip off my story without my consent at the expense of my reputation. There was of course the terrible Lifetime movie that I sued them over, resulting in them cutting a dream sequence where I was depicted as murdering Meredith.

A few years ago, there was the Fox series Proven Innocent, which was developed and marketed as “What if Amanda Knox became a lawyer?” The first I heard from the show’s makers was when they had the audacity to ask me to help them promote it on the eve of its premiere." (Medium) Life is bizarre and all that, but seriously? Seriously? What a f*cking nightmare!
posted by firstdaffodils at 9:09 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


There is* an incredible story in her experience, but it should be completely within her realm of guidance or authority to share or otherwise use.

"Repeat something often enough, and people believe it." Her life must have been absolutely insane for the years this occurred (and now).

Noticed suggestions to sue Damon within the thread. ..she's already legally reprimanded Lifetime, how many times does she need to try before people listen or respect /acknowledge the fucking boundary line? The most inspiring story here is how she maintained her fucking sanity!
posted by firstdaffodils at 9:29 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


A film critic apologized to Knox for using the phrase "Amanda Knox saga" in her review of the movie
posted by bitteschoen at 3:09 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


"I feel like a big bozo for using the phrase "Amanda Knox saga" as a shorthand in my review of STILLWATER. Apologies to Amanda, who eloquently lays out why everyone in the media needs to do better with our choices, especially when it comes to real lives."

I've honestly considered becoming a media literacy instructor. "This is the way to objectively break down material to discern whether or not it's REAL or RELEVANT."
posted by firstdaffodils at 8:50 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


I saw this Twitter thread. I had heard about her case at the time--had not heard that she was released and shown to be not guilty (probably because that was not "sensational" enough to get heavy coverage). The response in the Twitter thread from folks calling her a murderer even today was illuminating.
posted by agatha_magatha at 10:05 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


It's just f*cked. Truly some of the darkest areas of media. I have only read the articles and wiki, but I don't necessarily blame her for inserting her employer as the culprit.

It didn't seem like she did it as a means of using the person to remain outside prison, it's completely plausible she might look to the closest area of plausibility to control her situation/free herself from harm (it doesn't mean it was an ideal reflex). I also cannot possibly imagine the headspace of a person within indefinitely sentenced time for a crime they did not commit.
posted by firstdaffodils at 10:16 AM on July 31


The Atlantic has now published an expanded, longer version of the Twitter thread/Medium post by Amanda Knox. It’s worth reading too
posted by bitteschoen at 11:10 AM on July 31 [4 favorites]


but I don't necessarily blame her for inserting her employer as the culprit.

If you believe what she says happened (and I do), she did not insert her employer. The police inserted her employer after they found a text message on her phone saying "see you later" that they interpreted as a plan to actually meet (i.e. to commit the murder), rather than in the American sense of "I will see you sometime in the future".
posted by Preserver at 2:36 PM on July 31 [6 favorites]


Ugh, everything about this movie just seems so gross. Country-boy salt o' the earth oil-man goes to save his lil girl from them sicko Europeans and teach them some good old fashioned 'Merican justice!

My wife picked Stillwater for our movie date, and (at the risk of a mild spoiler) the movie is about a dumbass fuckup from Oklahoma and his dumbass fuckup daughter who do dumbass stuff and fuck their lives up, first in Oklahoma, then in France. That's not quite a quote from the movie, but its close. Not the best movie I've ever seen, but a solid B-, and not a rah rah USA lovefest at all. Having seen it, I'd say (1) the movie is better than most of you think and (2) Amanda Knox is extremely justified to be annoyed at being associated with this dumbass fucked up character.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:21 PM on July 31 [13 favorites]


Ty Preserver, didn't see.

"(2) Amanda Knox is extremely justified to be annoyed at being associated with this dumbass fucked up character." Literally no one is down with an embarrassing character invented in their place, especially after such an insane experience that deserves more respect. I'd expect more from M. Damon. Weird.
posted by firstdaffodils at 3:26 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


This story is the opposite of what happened with Cat Person.

Here is a director who openly promotes their movie as the fictionalized version of what happened to Amanda Knox. They mention Amanda Knox by name in promotional materials. Every article and interview and tweet about the movie references Amanda Knox by name & photo as the real life inspiration behind the movie. Amanda Knox objects to the use of her real name & photo in connection with promoting this movie and every other piece of money-making media. She wants people to stop associating her name with that fictional story.

In the Cat Person saga, the writer has always claimed that the story is fiction, period. The writer has never mentioned any real life person by name in any interview as being the inspiration for the story. However, a real person has now named themselves and associated themselves publicly with the story, in order to allege that the original story is a ripped-off non-fictionalized account of their real life. If they hadn't spoken up, nobody would know them and nobody would know their name. Everyone would still think the story was fiction. This real life person is objecting to their real life story being retold in the New Yorker, falsely labeled as fiction and without their permission or input. Their objection is the total opposite of Amanda Knox's objection.
posted by MiraK at 7:21 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Interesting that the focus falls on this movie when there is at least one book that traffics in the exact same "inspired by" narrative: Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois. At least Ms. duBois - or her publicists - were bright enough not to mention Amanda Knox, but the parallels are stark.
posted by tafetta, darling! at 8:16 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


But isn't that the whole point? Knox objects to her name & photo being used to promote this movie, because that's a direct hit on her reputation. It wouldn't be so bad if the movie makers were careful never to mention her at all and underlined that it was fiction. Which it is!
posted by MiraK at 12:15 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, it's bombed badly at the box office this weekend, coming in fifth, beaten even by the trippy art-house Green Knight.
posted by octothorpe at 3:10 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


For those still interested, a couple of fresh interviews with Amanda Knox:
Amanda Knox on Why She Went After ‘Stillwater,’ and Filmmakers’ Responsibility to Truth — Even in Fiction (Variety) – "I’m not arguing legal arguments. I’m arguing human arguments," says Knox, who feels "Stillwater" refuels conspiratorial suspicions about her that were finally rejected by an Italian court.

Amanda Knox, in her own words (Vox) – Stillwater is based on Amanda Knox’s story. She wishes someone had asked her to tell it.
posted by bitteschoen at 6:44 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Just had to come back around to this post. Did anyone actually see the movie, as opposed to watching the trailer or reading the article? To be fair, I haven't watched the movie yet, but everything I've read or heard from people who have . . . it just seems really clear not very many of you watched the movie before you jumped in to condemn it based on your assumptions about it, and, yes, Amanda Knox's assumptions about it.
So . . . ?
posted by pt68 at 7:59 PM on August 10


Have not seen the movie. Feel comfortable in my negative opinion of it as a business venture based on Knox’ discussion of the marketing strategy for it. The actual movie itself is somewhat irrelevant to such considerations.
posted by eviemath at 5:16 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I'm only semi-aware of this story, and that Medium piece from Knox is fantastic. Whenever I bothered to consider Matt Damon, I considered him harmless and in random interview shows he always came across as fairly thoughtful and considerate. Unless he publicly and clearly admits to this being a huge and hugely ill-considered mistake - which he likely won't, if you saw him on Hot Ones recently - on his part and the part of the writer/director, and apologises - well, add him to the never-ending list of white male movie stars who can go fuck themselves, I guess.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:14 PM on August 11


Why are you singling out Damon and not the writers, producers and directors?
posted by octothorpe at 3:33 AM on August 12


not very many of you watched the movie before you jumped in to condemn it based on your assumptions about it, and, yes, Amanda Knox's assumptions about it.

Those aren’t assumptions, those are facts – it’s a fact the movie was openly inspired by her real life story, the makers of the movie openly acknowledged that in interviews, it’s a fact they took her story into a different direction than what actually happened to Knox (see the spoiler revealed by Knox in her post and interviews linked above), and it’s a fact that different direction implies some level of culpability and fictionalizes away Knox’s innocence. If you read all the links, you’ll understand what she is taking issue with and that it’s not built on assumptions and it’s irrelevant that she hasn’t seen the full movie because the making of it, the marketing of it and the plot are enough to take issue with.
posted by bitteschoen at 3:38 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Why are you singling out Damon and not the writers, producers and directors?

Because producers can always take a leap, and the writer/director is not the public face of the movie, but yeah they can get stuffed too. Which is a shame, because I just looked him up and now know who he is and used to like him. Seems he's taken his character from The Wire into his actual career.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:32 PM on August 12


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