Last week the fifth and final movie I saw at TIFF, was also my most anticipated of the entire festival, Kelly Reichardt’s sixth and soon to be most seminal film yet: Certain Women.
Certain Women is exactly about that, three mini stories about three different women who work in the same rural counties and whom lives cross paths with unfortunate acquainted circumstances of crisis. Laura Dern is the focus of the first movie, then Michele Williams the second and then Lily Gladstone the third along with Kristen Stewart. Each section is a character study about a certain version of oppression towards a woman and the effects it has on their perspective.
Kelly Reichardt creates her best and most thoughtful piece yet of human observation with Certain Women, by naturally presenting the subtlety in the way a woman in a big career position is seen as less assuring next to a man, how a woman is seen more aggressive when she’s being assertive and how woman can’t easily be seen as heroic. Kelly Reichardt’s signature style perfectly encapsulates this, by letting us sit with these characters and absorb their organic emotional reactions, in a rural setting that reciprocates and highlights those exact feelings. The best thing about Certain Women is that Reichardt’s doesn’t only show the plight of these women, but points out these women have allowed their own resentment based disillusions to remove them from realizing their emotional mistakes.
Laura Dern does a surrounding job as a broken down lawyer with a troubled client, Michele Williams does a poignant measured job as a wife and mother who cares more about her business than her own family, but Lily Gladstone is the break out performance of the film, as a naïve loner ranch worker who falls for the maniac yet cavalier Kristen Stewart.
Certain Women is no doubt Kelly Reichardt’s best film and is a marvel in exposure, and the best way to understand it, is to see it.
- Maurice Jones