Certain Women ★★★½


Have now spent several days trying to perceive a coherent whole in these three barely-connected stories, and am still failing. The middle one in particular befuddles me—it felt bizarrely inconsequential while I was watching it, and theses that I've since read online and/or heard from friends, while solid enough, only serve to further isolate it from the other two in my mind. Not wholly sold on the initial tale, either, which is thoroughly absorbing in the moment but kinda left me shrugging post-epilogue. Airlift the final chapter out of Certain Women and make it a stand-alone short, however, and it would likely be my favorite film of the year. Don't want to say much about it, since its power lies in its stark simplicity; I'll merely observe that newcomer Lily Gladstone manages to out-underact Kristen Stewart, which is a nearly Olympian achievement. Their final scene together is almost as painfully heartrending as the final Affleck-Williams duet in Manchester By The Sea, but in an entirely different register.