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
Kristen Stewart's usual approach to learning her lines is to quickly memorize them and then alter some wording to add idiosyncrasies to her characters. During the shooting of this film, she was told by the director that she would have to say her lines word for word, stating in an interview that "words are very important to her (Kelly Reichardt)." See more »
When the Rancher travels to Livingston in search of the Teacher, she drives right through her destination and into Bozeman, about 25 miles west. She passes the Bear Canyon exit off I-90, westbound, and the stoplight she passes is S Tracy Ave, with the Ellen Theatre on the right. Suddenly, she strolls past the Stockman Bar, and is magically in Livingston, where she wakes up alongside the Mint Bar. See more »
You could talk about anything. Talk about the weather. Talk about your day. Just so you put it in an envelope and... put it in the mail. Doesn't have to be a tome.
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Written by Michael Anthony Nicastro and Matthew Jared Lieberman
Performed by Magic Bronson
Published by House of Hassle by arrangement with Bank Robber Music
Courtesy of War Cry Records See more »
An uneven triptych
Kelly Reichardt is one of those director/writers who has made it their focus to film, the unfilmable, ordinary people in their downtime simply reacting or not reacting to things. This is all well and good, and each piece of Certain Women works beautifully on their own, but as a collection pulled together it feels random and unfocused and not in a good way.
The three stories of Certain Women are all set in and around the same small town in Montana and are also loosely connected (a few side characters show up in different segments which are more of a distraction than a convincing narrative thread). The women of the three stories are Laura (Laura Dern) a personal injury lawyer dealing with a disabled and embittered client who won't accept that he signed away his rights, Gina (Reichardt's muse Michelle Williams, working with her fort the third time) an uptight woman trying to get the material needed for her dream home, and Jamie (newcomer Lily Gladstone, amazing), a lonely rancher who unexpectedly falls for a lawyer she meets in the strangest of circumstances. The stories are all very undramatic and subtle but in Reichardt's hands the material absolutely sings. There is a lot of depth and nuance to these characters and it is wonderful to watch them. Unfortunately she does not afford equal time to all the characters and this has the effect of making her film feel lopsided.
The best segment in the film is the one with Gladstone's rancher, and I sincerely wish that Reichardt had worked out a way to pad it out with 40 more minutes of material because at 50 minutes it is the longest segment by far and it is the most interesting and the most poignant.
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