Certain Women

Director Kelly Reichardt makes films about women aloof and aloft in a world that takes very little notice. Based on a short story by Maile Meloy, three women in Livingston, Montana, tenuously connected by lost causes, hide their secret sadness with a stinging evanescent desire to achieve expectations only to be thwarted by others. Laura Dern is a lawyer whose client hopes to sue his former employer for negligence but discovers he doesn’t have a case due to legal loopholes. Michelle Williams is wife and mother, camping out on the site of their soon-to-be-built house if she can persuade a neighbor to sell her the stones necessary to complete construction. Kristen Stewart is a lawyer who travels eight hours each Tuesday and Thursday to teach a legal course in a nearby small town when she encounters a ranch hand resonating with loneliness who takes a fancy to her company. Reichardt never exploits victimization through her films but a keen sense of discovery binds her characters together.