Lise’s review published on Letterboxd:
I haven't seen Meek's Cutoff. While I loved Wendy and Lucy and Kelly Reichardt was on my 'list' of directors, Meek's cutoff scared me. It seemed so, I don't know, so slow, and I like Tarr and Tarkovsky! Still, I had to take a chance on Certain Women and I selected it as a TIFF film. I like the director enough and the cast alone... Then I was told by friends who saw it before I did that it was more like Meek's Cutoff. Oh-oh. No choice, tickets are in hand. Here we go. Fill up on coffee and let's watch a Tarr-kovsky like film on Saturday after the Friday night before and hope we stay awake.
Yes, it is slow. But sometimes slow just means: sit back and spend some time with this character. Does she look nervous? Do you know why? Are you rooting for her? Do you think she should do what she is about to do? Sometimes slow just means perfect.
Three women, three different stories.
Laura Dern sympathizes with a male client who is getting screwed by the law but there is nothing she can do for him. Sill, she goes the extra mile, and then some.
Michelle Williams. Her segment gets the least amount of love. I don't know why but my guess is because she seems unhappy, frustrated, not sympathetic (the way mom's are supposed to be...) She plays a mom to a teenage girl and that right there means being frustrated because moms and teenage girls don't get along. For the most part teenage girls think their mothers are stupid and old school and power trippers and don't know anything at all about the real world. Michelle Williams' character has one of those, so everyday, EVERYDAY she wakes up to someone who can't stand her and as the mom she can't say much. She is supposed to remember what it was like. How cheery would you be? Then she has a husband who throws her under the bus whenever he can... so that's her daughter and her husband plus her work responsibilities because she is her husband's boss... You tell me what all that is supposed to look like if not exactly how Reichardt and Williams portray it.
And finally we have Kristen Stewart who took a job to teach a night class twice/week in a town 4 hours away (one way), most likely because she needed to show how willing she was to work in law or she was told to do it as part of her full-time job requirement. It turns out to be quite the treat for Lily Gladstone's character who works with horses but lands in this night class by accident and looks forward to it every night.
Women empathizing, women sympathizing, women taking care, women doing what they have to do for their work. Nothing stupid, nothing crazy. Not a "women's" story, no melodrama, no crying and shouting and bitching, nothing like the way men portray us sometimes. Just regular stuff. Just normal. And lovely.