Certain Women

I've never read Maile Meloy / now I'm curious to / anyway Livingston is also Jim Harrison country, of sorts, and I'm always happy to see what the coastals refer to as flyover country tackled with some kind of earnestness and sensitivity.

Kelly Reichardt cares about the framing and blocking of her shots in a way that is palpable but unostentatious. It's clear that she and her actors spend a lot of time thinking about tiny gestures and behaviors, not as quirks but as communicative substance. A lot of the film is beautiful but without veering hard into the picturesque; it retains a sense of roughness and I like that. Dramatically or structurally, I'm more mixed on the film's gestalt. Plausibility can be over-rated, but the first two narrative sections seemed, to me, just a little "off" at the edges, almost ineffably movie-ish as a way of depicting an unmovie world. During the second segment, I kept engaging in a weird mental game where I thought of Dern playing Williams' character, and vice versa--I suspect it might have felt more apposite. I wasn't grooving very deeply to be honest. But then the Gladstone/Stewart section emerges and it's Reichardt at the top of her game, simply a stone cold masterpiece stretch of filmmaking. Just a couple of hours after one viewing, it's hard for me to pinpoint what makes this (and the main performances) seem authentic and brutally intimate where the others fall comparatively short. But that section of the film is stellar.