DVD Review: Certain Women
Director Kelly Reichardt tells three different stories about women living in Montana. Laura (Laura Dern) is a lawyer trying to assist a client (Jared Harris) who has been screwed over by his employer after an accident. Gina (Michelle Williams) is building a new home but struggles with her moody teenager daughter along the way* And a Rancher (Lily Gladstone) wanders into a class being taught by Elizabeth (Kristen Stewart) and becomes fascinated with her.
The * is because even after thinking about this film for a while, I still don't understand the point of Michelle William's segment. Which brings me to how I felt about this movie as a whole. I felt like I was watching two good ideas that were never elaborated on, and one afterthought. Gina's story being the afterthought. Laura's had the potential for a lot of drama. Her client holds someone hostage at one point and she diffuses the situation. But The Rancher (no really, that's how she's credited) and Elizabeth's story was the most intriguing. Theirs was the one I didn't want to end. Yet, all of these vignettes went out with a whimper.
It's a similar problem I have with Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff. It had a great cast but I felt like the story went nowhere. I didn't have that problem with her last feature, Night Moves, which I enjoyed immensely. Certain Women is ultimately a commentary on loneliness in every day life. It brings up the long debate on whether or not movies need some sort of climax that changes its trajectory. I know I made that complaint about Manchester by the Sea last year, but comparing the two, it was a flawed statement on my part. Manchester was far more interesting than this, even if "nothing" happened in the end on that one either.
I guess I'm just disappointed. I wanted this story about women directed by a woman to have a bit more. There were good bones here, but I was left unsatisfied. I like to take my movies home with me most of the time. I like to think about how characters would move forward after the credits roll. But this film didn't give me enough to go off of, even in my imagination.
Memorable Quote: "Do you know anyone around here that could teach this class? - Elizabeth (Kristen Stewart)