Friday, April 7, 2017

CERTAIN WOMEN (2016)



Written, Edited & Directed By: Kelly Reichardt 
Based on Stories By: Malie Meloy 
Cinematography By: Christopher Blauvelt 


Cast: Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, James LeGros, Lily Gladstone, Kristen Stewart, Jared Harris, John Getz, Rene Auberjonois, Ashlie Atkinson 

 Certain Women drops us into a handful of intersecting lives across Montana. A lawyer tries to defuse a hostage situation and calm her disgruntled client, who feels slighted by a workers' compensation settlement. A married couple 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 forms an attachment to a young lawyer, who inadvertently finds herself teaching a twice-weekly adult education class, four hours from her home.


Adaptation of three Maile Meloy short stories, "Travis B.," "Native Sandstone" and "Tome." The stories are part of her "Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It" and "Half in Love" collections.

Unfortunately this film needed up being not my type of film. It seems i never got in the films wavelength. It's. It a bad film I just didn't find any interest or feel like I ever really got it.

The film plays as full and really couldn't get into it, but can see how others might really get into it and enjoy it. It's. It a bad film most too slow and held little interest for me. Though I knew what I was getting into as far as director Kelly Riechardt’s films stand. As they are usually Minute slices of life focused on the everyday and individual rural females. Observing them and their behavior usually intimately while nothing really happens in the films.

I have only seen a few of her films before, WENDY & LUCY being the best and while not much happened it kept me captivated and I was moved by it somewhat.

This film is an anthology of sorts with different characters connected loosely. Each of them has their own story vignette

Laura Dern plays a lawyer having an affair with a married man and representing an increasingly unhinged man. This piece of the film holds some interest but ends up feeling a bit stale. Her character is responsible but aloof and pretty much leaves her client as she under estimates his threats

Then we come to Michelle Williams story as a woman who is redesigning her house and wants to use a certain sandstone that a certain homeowner has and is hassling giving it to her. While she has to put up with a disrespectful daughter and a philandering husband. This is by far the dullest of the stories. As it feels like there is something deeper being said and going on, but it just sits there and seems to not move. She comes across as one of the more ambiguous characters. As we are never sure is she seething with rage underneath due to her current situation of tying to aquire sandstone or does she know about her husband?

The next story has Kristen Stewart playing a lawyer teaching NIGHT classes on the law and the ranch hand woman played by Lily Gladstone who takes classes and develops a friendship and a crush on her. This is the only story that seems to come alive as it is awkward and heart breaking with only a few steps and details and is the most depth I have seen Kristen Stewart have in a role.

Kristen Stewart oblivious to the woman's attraction to her. That feels like a romance or courting from a 1950's movie and has a JR high school romance vibe. It is obvious to audience and Stewart's character if she paid attention and used her senses.

Towards the end we come back around again and are introduced again to Laura Dern's and Michelle Williams characters.

We spend time with them but we more get to know them through their actions. Each seems to have a loneliness about them. Wanting to succeed and make connection. Though not wanting to betray their independence nor inner strength. Some go about it the wrong way, other characters seem to overcompensate.

The film has the rural background of real people. With a lot of native Americans and blue collar citizens in the background. Showing the lives they live aren't glamorous.

For anyone looking for any type of action or growth of characters especially emotionally. This is. It the film for you.

These women show a certain plainness and also seem normal, but are looked at with suspicion for not exactly fitting into regular gender roles or expectations laid out for them.

They also show a means of escape for themselves outside of their normal lives that enlivens and gives them purpose even if it is just momentarily. Be it a love affair, adultery, focus, volunteering and fascination.

Just the small things that sometimes matter it might be placeholders or distractions.

The lack of melodrama and more minute storytelling is refreshing but takes some getting used to. In this film the male characters more stay in the background than play major roles. It almost feels like the film at times builds towards a standoff with the audience over what it will do and won’t

All the stories that the actresses play in seem to be written to their strengths.

Grade: C+

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