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Certain Women (2016)

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The lives of three women intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail.

Director:

Kelly Reichardt

Writers:

Kelly Reichardt (screenplay by), Maile Meloy (based on stories by)
12 wins & 46 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Laura Dern ... Laura
James Le Gros ... Ryan
Jared Harris ... Fuller
Ashlie Atkinson ... Secretary
Guy Boyd ... Personal Injury Lawyer
Edelen McWilliams ... Fuller's Wife
John Getz ... Sheriff Rowles
James Jordan ... Hostage Specialist
Matt McTighe ... Officer Tommy Carroll
Joshua T. Fonokalafi Joshua T. Fonokalafi ... Amituana
Michelle Williams ... Gina
Sara Rodier ... Guthrie
Rene Auberjonois ... Albert
Lily Gladstone ... The Rancher
Stephanie Campbell Stephanie Campbell ... Teacher 1
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Storyline

Certain Women drops us into a handful of intersecting lives across Montana. A lawyer (Laura Dern) tries to defuse a hostage situation and calm her disgruntled client (Jared Harris), who feels slighted by a workers' compensation settlement. A married couple (Michelle Williams and James Le Gros) breaks ground on a new home but exposes marital fissures when they try to persuade an elderly man to sell his stockpile of sandstone. A ranch hand (Lily Gladstone) forms an attachment to a young lawyer (Kristen Stewart), who inadvertently finds herself teaching a twice-weekly adult education class, four hours from her home. Written by Polly_Kat

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 2017 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Kelly Reichardt Project See more »

Filming Locations:

Montana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,898, 16 October 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,032,942, 25 November 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maile Meloy didn't know about Kelly Reichardt's intention to flip the gender of the Rancher until she saw a screening. She commented she loved how it changed the story. See more »

Goofs

When Elizabeth Travis first starts her school law course, she begins writing her name as "Eliz..." on the blackboard, then wipes it out and simply writes "Beth". A little later a fully written but crossed out "Elizabeth" appears next to the "Beth". See more »

Quotes

Fuller: A guy in prison! I can't believe she found a guy in prison. I'm a guy in prison what's wrong with me?
See more »

Connections

References Antiques Roadshow (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Boats to Build
Written by Guy Clark and Verlon Thompson
Performed by Guy Clark
Published by EMI April Music Inc. on behalf of itself, Ides of March Music and GSC Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Masterful Storytelling, with Emotion Revealed by Actions
3 November 2016 | by vsksSee all my reviews

You know from the movie previews and the rumblings from the multiplex's adjacent theater that today's movies are heavily weighted toward "action films." Writer-director-editor Kelly Reichardt could singlehandedly reverse that trend with Certain Women, which can most succinctly be described as an "inaction film." It's kind of hard to get used to Reichardt's pace, so you might watch this and think "Wha---?" Here, the drama is at the deep inside the characters, hidden from all views except the closest. And that's what it gets from Reichardt—"a poet of silences and open spaces," says A.O. Scott in the New York Times. Based on short stories by Maile Meloy, the film is set in and around Livingston, Montana, and the views of the lonely snowswept plains are breathtaking. The story is presented in three separate vignettes that barely intersect. In the first, Laura Dern plays Laura Wells, a lawyer trying to convince her persistent client (Jared Harris) that he can't sue his former employer for on-the-job injuries because he already accepted a settlement. The client doesn't believe it until a male lawyer tells him the same thing. She's disappointed at many levels—with her clients, her career, her love life. The middle vignette involves Gina (Michelle Williams), a married woman with a disaffected teenage daughter. She and her husband are building a new house, and she hopes to convince a slightly addled, elderly neighbor (Rene Auberjonois) to sell them a pile of unused sandstone blocks in his front yard. Behind Gina's bright smile, you can feel her irritation that the neighbor focuses his attention not on her request but on her husband, eliding the decision, and finally the husband sells her out. Even within the bosom of her family, it's clear, she's alone. The dreamiest and most poignant sequence follows the young woman Jamie—beautifully underplayed by Lily Gladstone—on her daily routine, feeding and caring for a group of horses on a remote ranch. The repetitiveness of her tasks in the snowy, mountains in the distance, is mesmerizing. Her routine and her equilibrium are disturbed by a chance acquaintance with Beth, a harried young lawyer played by Kristen Stewart, overwhelmed by her own, very different grind. The extent of Jamie's disturbance is painfully revealed in her quiet face, upon which "silent passion surges like an underground stream," Scott says. The acting is subtle and true, and Reichardt closely follows the dictum, "show, don't tell." Her characters don't scream and rail and tell you what their issues are. You see it laid bare in front of you.


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