“Writer/director Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women bears the burden of being a small indie drama with A-list stars, boasting a cast that includes Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart and Michelle Williams in the title roles. Luckily for the film, and the audience, Certain Women more than justifies itself as a serious argument for the beauty of the small and intimate drama and the importance of female-driven filmmaking. Certain Women is based on short stories by Maile Meloy, and so takes the form of three loosely connected vignettes set in neighboring communities across Montana. Laura (Dern) is a lawyer dealing with the unstable Fuller (Jared Harris), upset over a workers’ compensation settlement. Married couple Gina and Ryan Lewis (Williams and James Le Gros) attempt to convince Albert (Rene Auberjonois) to sell them a cache of sandstone they want to build their new house. Ranch hand Jamie (Lily Gladstone) forms a tentative relationship with Beth (Stewart), a lawyer teaching a night class in school law at the local high school. Certain Women does not boast of star turns, despite being so laden with stars. It makes female narrative its focus, allowing the depth of human emotion and human experience to filter through the experience of femininity. Reichardt’s asked her actresses to be human, accessible, real, and they do not disappoint. They find their connection, not to each other but to the audience, in portraying their stories as both intimate and universal.”—Lauren Humphries-Brooks, We Got This Covered. R. 107 Min.
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