Cinema Clips: Certain Women

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I’m starting to develop a big time like for director Kelly Reichardt.

Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, Night Moves and now this, a well-crafted movie based on short stories by Maile Meloy.

Three stories featuring Laura Dern, Kristin Stewart and Michelle Williams intertwine in less-than-obvious ways, with stellar performances from all. Dern plays a lawyer who finds herself with an unruly client (Jared Harris) she either can’t help, or doesn’t want to help. Michelle Williams plays a wife building a new house while her husband (James LeGros is alive!) acts all disenchanted. Kristin Stewart chimes in as a woman teaching a class she knows nothing about while an unauthorized student (Lily Gladstone) takes a shine to her.

Gladstone, a relative newcomer, is nothing less than outstanding in her awkward scenes with Stewart, who continues to impress in indie roles. Williams, who has worked with Reichardt a few times before, lights up the screen, even when her character is somber. Dern reminds that she is still one of the best actresses on the planet.

The movie is deliberately paced, and Reichardt has a way of presenting a scene without telegraphing what is going to happen, or demanding we feel or react a certain way as viewers. She let’s her films breathe, and it’s both masterful and daring.

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