Certain Women is pure indie. There is no drama, there is no comedy, it is just slices of people’s lives at which, to some, maybe their dullest moments.
The story is split between three characters. There is Laura Wells (Laura Dern) who is a lawyer for this man named Will Fuller (Jared Harris) who is just a miserable man thanks to a work accident. Alongside her is Gina Lewis (Michelle Williams) who is a woman who, with her husband, owns a company and they are trying to acquire sandstone from a man named Albert (Rene Auberjonois). Lastly, there is Jamie (Lily Gladstone) and Beth (Kristen Stewart).
Jamie is a young woman who takes care of horses, keeps to herself, and doesn’t seem to have much in the way of friends. Beth is a young woman who is a lawyer who, through reasons not fully explained, ends up teaching a class on school law in the town Jamie works in. Jamie enjoys her company and Beth mostly is just cordial.
I think every now and then a person should really see a movie which isn’t trying to be over the top with the dramatics. For a lack of a better way of putting it, it cleans your palate. It helps you appreciate the lives people live, whether characters or real people, and how even the one or two odd connections we have can mean so much to someone.
For whether it is Laura and Will, Gina and Albert, or Jamie and Beth, one of the things this film highlights is one-half of each set being lonely and may not outright say they are craving attention, comradery, or someone to listen, but their actions speak volumes. Mind you, not to the point of crying or bawling your eyes out, but without anything being over the top, it pushes you to really pay attention to find something to grasp onto.
With that said, this film was honestly boring as hell. I can try to make it seem like more than it is by speaking on how it focuses on the loneliness of life in parts of Montana but, at the end of the day, everyone is a square peg. For while Will can be slightly erratic, demanding, and likes reminding you how much of a victim he is, no one is really trying to engage him. They talk to him, but there aren’t any passionate speeches or stories which make you care about what is going on in his life.
Same goes for everyone else. Albert is old and seemingly coming to the beginning of that point where he may need someone to check on him every now and then. Then with Jamie, she is a nice quiet girl who needs a friend that isn’t a farm animal. Each story is sad in its own way and may make you think how luckily you are to have the connections you do have, but everything is so subtle and subdued that I think the appeal will be limited.