Certain Women ★★★★

Let's you and I make an effort to be nice to your mom today...Because neither of us would do very well without her.

There comes a point in Reichardt's "Certain Women" where a shot lingers on a red neon sign reading "Livingston". Only, the top of the sign is cut off by the frame. This shot is somewhat emblematic of the film as a whole. Reichardt and the magnificent cast she has assembled here weave a trio of narratives that rarely tell you the whole story of these women's lives. Rather, it allows the characters to breathe and, in the quiet pauses between what's said, lets the off-screen history of these characters trickle into the frame. And this tender characterization extends to the secondary characters too. There's an acute understanding of challenges inherent to the female experience here. And this isn't just explained through the dialogue. There's also a brilliant scene in Michelle Williams' chapter where, despite her character's kindness, a man she's trying to buy rock from will only talk to her husband. The frustration is never over-explained or exploded into some theatrical Oscar clip, it just unfolds naturally.

However, this leads to my main and only complaint with the film. The film feels like an anthology rather than a cohesive narrative. And while, when the streams do begin to cross, there's a pleasant sense of solidarity, the shifts between chapters still feel jarring, especially at the beginning.

Regardless, this is a beautifully restrained film that ends on a high note. I give Certain Women a 4/5.

Also, Kristen Stewart's section is the best because Kristen Stewart is the best.

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