Certain Women drops us into a handful of intersecting lives across Montana. A lawyer (Laura Dern) tries to diffuse a hostage situation and calm her disgruntled client (Jared Harris), who feels slighted by a workers’ compensation settlement. A married couple (Michelle Williams and James Le Gros) breaks ground on a new home but exposes marital fissures when they try to persuade an elderly man to sell his stockpile of sandstone. A ranch hand (Lily Gladstone) forms an attachment to a young lawyer (Kristen Stewart), who inadvertently finds herself teaching a twice-weekly adult education class, four hours from her home.
Certain Women is an American drama film written and directed by Kelly Reichardt. The movie is based on short stories from Maile Meloy’s collection, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It. It stars Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Jared Harris. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016. The film was released on October 14, 2016, by IFC Films.
About the Story
Certain Women explores a handful of intersecting lives across Montana. Lawyer Laura Wells (Laura Dern) has been dealing with a disgruntled client, Fuller (Jared Harris), for 8 months. Out of work after a work place injury caused a disability he has taken to visiting Laura repeatedly at her office.
As he will not listen to her advice she takes him to another lawyer who, after assessing the case, tells Fuller exactly what Laura told him; that though his company was at fault for his injuries he can no longer sue them after accepting their initial nominal settlement. On the way home from visiting the second lawyer Fuller feuds with his wife and is kicked out of their car and takes a ride back with Laura. On the way home, he tells her he wants to shoot his former employers.
That night Laura arrives at Fuller’s former place of employment where he has taken hostage a security guard. After being prepped by police Laura goes and finds Fuller who has her read the case file his company has on him and the lawsuit. Laura reads the entire file which details how Fuller was cheated out of his settlement. He decides to let the guard go and then asks Laura to stall for him by going to the front and telling the police of his demands as if he has a gun pointed at her while he slips out the back. Instead Laura immediately tells the police where Fuller is and he is arrested.
Gina and Ryan Lewis (Michelle Williams and James Le Gros) are a married couple with a teenage daughter building their own home from the ground up. Gina feels that Ryan constantly undermines her with their daughter and is annoyed by his behaviour. On their way home from the campsite of their new home, they decide to stop at the home of Albert, an elderly man they know, to try to persuade him to sell them the sandstone on his property.
As they talk Gina tries to persuade Albert to sell her the sandstone, but he interrupts her repeatedly and seems only interested in talking with Ryan. Eventually Albert tentatively agrees to give the sandstone to Gina and Ryan, and Gina, who has been secretly recording the conversation, signals that they should leave. In the car on their way home she finds it ridiculous how easily she was able to obtain the sandstone.
Sometime later Gina and Ryan arrive and load up a truck full of the sandstone. She notices Albert watching from his window and waves at him but he does not wave back. Jamie (Lily Gladstone) is a ranch hand living in isolation during the winter, tending to horses on a farm. Heading into town one night, she sees cars turning into the school and follows them.
She learns she has stumbled onto a class on school law taught by a young lawyer, Beth Travis (Kristen Stewart). Jamie goes out to eat with Beth after class, and Beth explains that she lives in Livingston which is a four-hour drive away, so she must make the eight-hour round trip twice a week to make it back in time for her real job.
Oirected by: Kelly Reichardt
Starring: Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Jared Harris, James Le Gros, Rene Auberjonois, Lily Gladstone, Edelen McWilliams, Ashlie Atkinson, Zena Dell Lowe
Screenplay by: Kelly Reichardt
Production Design by: Anthony Gasparro
Cinematography by: Christopher Blauvelt
Film Editing by: Kelly Reichardt
Costume Design by: April Napier
Set Decoration by: Pamela Day
Music by: Jeff Grace
MPAA Rating: R for some language.
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: October 14, 2016