The lives of four women in and around the Montana town of Livingston are the focus of Kelly Reichardt’s latest drama. The work, which unfolds slowly and with limited action and dialogue, has been adapted from Maile Meloy’s short stories. The film is divided into three parts. In the first, a lawyer (Laura Dern) patiently works with a frustrating client (Jared Harris). Later, we see a woman (Michelle Williams), irked by her feckless husband and grumpy teenage daughter, take on the task of negotiating a deal for some building materials. In the final and best act, a young woman (Lily Gladstone) who works alone on an isolated ranch develops a crush on a lawyer (Kristen Stewart) who is teaching a night class at a local school.
As in Reichardt’s earlier films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek’s Cutoff, Certain Women highlights women toughing it out, largely alone and in Western locales. Here, the protagonists slog through the day-to-day keeping-on that women face, particularly when enacting roles which are typically considered male, such as setting up a deal. It’s not for all viewers: This is quiet, slice-of-life material. As in real life, we see the small moments that can be momentous in their own unremarked way, such as minor disappointments that form a larger pattern capable of significant impact. Starts Fri., Nov. 25. Regent Square