Certain Women

Director: Kelly Reichardt
Year Released: 2016
Rating: 2.0

Reichardt adapts several short pieces by writer Maile Meloy, all about women in Montana: lawyer Laura (Laura Dern) struggles to defend difficult client Fuller (Jared Harris), Gina (Michelle Williams), along with husband Ryan (James Le Gros), asks a neighbor for a pile of sandstone and in the final section, horse farmer Jamie (Lily Gladstone) develops a crush on a lawyer (Kristen Stewart) teaching night classes on 'school law.' The Dern and Williams bits have a clipped, empty feel to them - there's a difference between playfully elusive and forcefully vague - but the Stewart-Gladstone storyline activates something special in Reichardt: it's a wonderful melding of a love-that-cannot-be amidst a desolate landscape and painful loneliness (it invites comparison to Brokeback Mountain ... only better). There's an attempt to 'wrap up' the movie at the end with one more scene from each story ... but it's unsatisfying.