Certain Women ★★½

Short Review

Added to: 2016 Ranked

I've probably been asking for too much this year, because while I got to see amazing human-centered masterpieces like Toni Erdmann or Blue Jay this afternoon, I also got settled with lesser efforts like Kelly Reichardt's latest feature Certain Women.

While it definitely does what its name implies, it falls eerily flat on that concept. Yes, we get to see certain women in a small variety of daily struggles but that's about it. It seems to hint at the ongoing problems of female neglect in modern society and it does show what substance they bring to the world, but its presentation is so incredibly bland that ultimately bores the viewer more than it should. Now, don't get me wrong. I love a good slow burner and I adore films that put women in a better light. I can easily give you a whole list of films in which women show their power and it actually proves a point. But here both the situations, the characters and their motivations are so simplistic that by the end they are barely elaborated on. We get a story about a mother who tries to build a house and (perhaps) struggles with raising her child and the relationship with her husband, but that's it. We get a setup and nothing more. Next to that there are two more stories. One about a lawyer trying to keep a friend from making mistakes of some sort (I've already forgotten what that was about) and a story about a rancher who falls in love with a teacher at a night school. That last one is undoubtedly the best story of the three as it not only shows much more emotion yet actually fully proves the point it wants to make.

I don't know exactly what to think of it. It isn't great, it isn't bad. If it was more of an atmospheric experience, it would've worked just fine. But here we just get a look at women's lives but no climax to anything. It's more of a registration, more of a documentary-like film, yet still without any kind of finale to the whole thing.

A sorely mistreated opportunity.

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