Based on a number of short stories from Maile Meloy’s Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, American filmmaker Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women portrays the intersecting lives of four independent women (Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart and Lily Gladstone). With the help of her amazing actors, Reichardt managed to create a marvelous and deeply empathic work. These ‘certain women’ are revealed in their vulnerability as well as their strength and resilience, as they make their way through the wide plains of the American Northwest.
Since her debut film River of Grass (1994), Kelly Reichardt has been working on a unique and beautiful oeuvre. Frustrated by the sexism within the film industry and the immeasurable challenges to start a new project, she became a professor in film production. After more than 10 years, she relaunched her career as a director with Old Joy (2006). The heartbreaking Wendy and Lucy (2008), and the beautiful and sensitive women’s portrait in the Western Meek's Cutoff (2010) confirmed her reputation as one of the most important voices within contemporary American cinema.
The expanses of the American West take center stage in this intimately observed triptych from Kelly Reichardt. Adapted from three short stories by Maile Meloy and unfolding in self-contained but interlocking episodes, Certain Women navigates the subtle shifts in personal desire and social expectation that unsettle the circumscribed lives of its characters: a lawyer (Laura Dern) forced to subdue a troubled client; a wife and mother (Michelle Williams) whose plans to construct her dream home reveal fissures in her marriage; and a night-school teacher (Kristen Stewart) who forms a tenuous bond with a lonely ranch hand (Lily Gladstone), whose longing for connection delivers an unexpected jolt of emotional immediacy. With unassuming craft, Reichardt captures the rhythms of daily life in small-town Montana through these fine-grained portraits of women trapped within the landscape’s wide-open spaces. (Criterion)