Director: Kelly Reichardt
Talent: Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Lily Gladstone
Released: 3rd March
Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, based on the short stories of Maile Meloy, consists of three distinct narratives linked by a central theme — strong women operating in a male-dominated world — and a deep rural Montana setting. Each section benefits from Reichardt’s minimalist filmmaking approach and usual eye for detail in addition to some effective, understated work by a cast that includes Laura Dern and Michelle Williams.
However, only the third story, concerning a lonely ranch hand played by newcomer Lily Gladstone who becomes infatuated with a young lawyer (Stewart) teaching a night class at the local school, really takes off. Both actresses are simply fantastic here, developing their lopsided relationship in a series of timid, reticent encounters that culminates in an absolute sucker-punch of an ending. While the other two vignettes certainly have their merits, neither achieves anywhere near this level of emotional weight. Uneven almost by definition, then, this is still very much a film worth checking out.
Words – Felipe Deakin