Certain Women

"Good"

Certain Women Review


In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply pointed stories about women's lives. So this drama weaves together three narratives with distinct female perspectives. Based on short stories by Maile Meloy, these tales only barely intersect, but they echo similar themes in a striking rural Montana setting.

In the central story, Beth (Kristen Stewart) is a young lawyer who drives four hours twice a week to teach a night class, where she develops a fan in a young rancher (Lily Gladstone) who has a secret crush on her. Meanwhile, Laura (Laura Dern) is another lawyer representing an injured worker (Jared Harris) who took a small financial settlement before learning that he would never physically recover. And then there's Gina (Michelle Williams), who is building a home in a gorgeous location with her strained husband (James Le Gros) and surly teen daughter (Sara Rodier). They need a pile of old sandstone that has been sitting for some 50 years next to the home of a man (Rene Aberjonois) everyone's afraid to talk to.

All of this is set against Montana's big-sky landscapes, sumptuously captured on-screen by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt. Everything is crisp and wintry, and Reichardt cleverly designs the film in a simplistic, insightful way that quietly focusses on unspoken interaction between the characters. Yes, much of this movie is completely silent, as these women consider the realities of their lives. This of course allows the actresses to make the most of their characters, adding weight and depth to each scene, often without saying a word.

Gladstone has the standout role, sidelining the fine Stewart as she plays woman whose daily routine offers a distraction from a truth about herself that she's afraid to speak aloud. Dern's thread is more plot-based, as she gets into a hostage situation that remains remarkably grounded. And Williams shines even if her storyline is rather vague, leaving the audience to find the underlying themes.

Each narrative unfolds at a slow, meandering pace that welcomes long stretches of quiet soul-searching. This sometimes leaves the movie feeling artfully elusive and also somewhat dull. Most of the relationships in the film are unresolved, and the characters' emotions are just out of reach. But viewers who take the time to peer underneath the surface will find plenty of churning drama and resonance. With the quick-fire pacing of most movies at the moment, shifting into Reichardt's gentle, shuffling rhythm isn't particularly easy. But it's worth the effort.



Certain Women

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Box Office USA: $1,037,787.00

Distributed by: Film Science

Production compaines: Film Science

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

Starring: as Laura Wells, as Gina Lewis, as Beth Travis, Lily Gladstone as Jamie, James Le Gros as Ryan Lewis, as Fuller, as Albert, as George Rowles, Sara Rodier as Guthrie Lewis

Contactmusic


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