Certain Women

Certain Women ★★★★

I'm so appreciative of Reichardt for the physical impacts her films have on me. In fact, "impact" is too strong a word because what I experience is a calming, a slowing down of my thoughts and my biorhythms. Her films are so patient and subtle, and she invites the viewer to experience their subtleties along with her.

Certain Women was a real tonic for me. In terms of its pacing and complicated but largely optimistic worldview it reminded me of Old Joy, a film I love. It seemed a perfect way to introduce interesting entanglements and complex thematic resonances into a filmmaker who works best in a kind of rustic simplicity. Somehow, these three stories gain dimensions through their juxtaposition. What they chronicle are competent women belittled by the world around them. But more deeply, they speak to a world starving for human connection, a world in which people simply want dignity and companionship.

The film's third chapter in particular is a poignant representation of this struggle. Another filmmaker may have mined the scenario for more outsized tragedy, but Reichardt is smart and sensitive enough to know that life goes on and to find beauty in that realization.

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