If you're a fan of action-packed, story-driven films, you probably don't want to watch CERTAIN WOMEN. If you don't want to spend an entire film just getting to know characters, this film isn't for you. But Kelly Reichardt's latest film, featuring three individual stories of women in Montana, is a beautiful look at modern women and their quiet struggles.
These women's stories are divided into the film's three acts -- it's more a collection of short stories than a cohesive ensemble piece, thought it does come back around to connect the stories at the end -- and focuses on the women's daily lives and struggles. Each story centers around women stuck in their situations: the first story portrays a lawyer named Laura (Laura Dern) whose latest client's inability to come to grips with his own circumstances causes him to use Laura as a tool to get what he wants; in the second act, Gina (Michelle Williams) hopes to purchase some large, unwanted rocks in her neighbor's yard to incorporate them into the house her family is building, but worries about his response if she asks instead of her husband; and in act three, Lily Gladstone and Kristen Stewart play opposite each other as a rancher whose job has left her with little social interaction and a new lawyer who got roped into a teaching job four hours' drive from her law firm -- the two of them strike up an unusual relationship which consists entirely of mixed messages and loneliness.
The film moves along at a glacial pace, but is brimming with subtext, right down to the "meaningless" conversations about coyotes and horses. What a beautiful way to spend two hours... CERTAIN WOMEN is now playing at Midtown Cinema!