Certain Women is an elegant, nuanced film that stays in your mind long after you have left the theater. Director Kelly Reinhardt, who also wrote the screenplay based on stories by Maile Meloy, takes you into the lives of three women from the American Northwest. They do not lead extraordinary lives. It is a measure of Ms. Reinhardt’s gift, and the gifts of her remarkable cast, that the unique nature of each character shines through.
Small-town attorney Laura (Laura) appears bored by her work, to the extent that she has a lackluster fling with a married man on her lunch break. She is annoyed by her current case, a personal injury suit in which the plaintiff, Fuller (Jared Harris), cannot prevail due to a technicality. A meeting with another attorney goes badly, leaving Fuller on the brink of desperation.
Gina (Michelle Williams) feels her husband and sulky teenage daughter conspire against her. Undaunted, Gina puts her energy into constructing a weekend cottage from recycled native materials. Her project is not entirely altruistic; she and her husband strong-arm an elderly family friend into selling them a pile of sandstone on his property.
In the final story, a Native American horse rancher (Lily Gladstone) seeking activity finds herself crashing an adult education class on education law. She is less interested in the subject than the teacher Beth (Kristin Stewart). Beth is a recent law grad who took the teaching job without realizing how far it was from her home. She eats dinner with the horse rancher after class, but it is clear the affection is one-sided.
There is practically no overlap between the stories- just one telling personal detail. A couple of shared buildings let you know the stories take place in the same relative area.
The acting is uniformly top-notch. All performers maintain the understated tone but also connect with the audience. It is not an easy balance. Christopher Blauveit’s cinematography, with its muted colors and striking imagery, also deserves mention.
Certain Women just received the top prize at the London Film Festival. It is not hard to see why. This is a truly special film.
Related Posts: Film Appreciation: Yesterday Today And Tomorrow http://www.thinkingcinema.com/film-appreciation-yesterday-today-and-tomorrow/
Multi-Storied: List For Week Ending October 23,2016 http://www.thinkingcinema.com/multi-storied-list-for-week-ending-october-23-2016/