Certain Women - This Movie Does Not Rock.But There Are Stones...
Dir: Kelly Reichardt
Starring Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, Lily Gladstone, Jared Harris, James Le Gros, Rene Auberjonois
Adapted from a number of short stories by Montanna-based Maile Maloy, Reichardt’s latest consists of three separate tales, united only by their geography, with each one being duller than the one before.
Laura Dern kicks things off in the more interesting vignette, as a lawyer having an affair at lunchtime and dealing with troubled client Harris the rest of the time, even when he picks up a shotgun to try and get him some justice. This is followed by Williams, trying to buy some stone from an elderly Auberjonois, who doesn’t seem too keen on the idea. (Yes, that’s the whole of it.) Things then head towards some sort of conclusion with ranch-hand Gladstone, who develops a brief but unrequited relationship with visiting lawyer Stewart.
Reichardt is clearly determined to steer well away from anything even vaguely resembling a moment of action, instead choosing to concentrate on the very real minutiae of these women’s lives. Thus when Williams goes to pick up her stone, it feels like we’re there whilst every single block is loaded onto her truck; when Gladstone sees to the horses every morning – we all see to the horses every morning. It quite rightly affects a form of naturalism, but these are inconsequential tales of incidental moments in relatively uninteresting lives. We do not catch these people at turning points or major events, just them doing, you know, stuff. And sadly, most of it – like Reichardt’s film - is all really rather tedious. (And if that wasn't enough - we go back for an epilogue to catch up with all three women and see how their lives are going. So if you wondered whatever happened to that stone. Or how the horses are being mucked out that morning - wonder no more!)
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