Certain Women

Certain Women ★★★★

Despite the difference in time period and theme, there's something about Certain Women that reminds me strongly of Carol (and no, it's not just me zeroing in on Todd Haynes's executive producer credit). Both films use shots of characters looking through windows to great effect - in Certain Women, Kelly Reichardt uses reflections to fuse her characters and the Montana landscape (arguably a character in its own right). It's a fitting image for a film so rooted in setting, and it serves to drive home how tied to their locations the women are.

Reichardt paints her characters in spare, powerful brushstrokes, making use of the smallest gestures and microexpressions. Capturing the central women's everyday struggles and triumphs with compassion and quiet humour, she gives each an unshakeable dignity.

The result is a slow-moving but unexpectedly powerful portrait of ordinary life, painted in warm tones that feel real enough to touch. Coming out of the movie theatre after this felt like coming out of a trance - it's that atmospheric.

Part of my Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival lineup.

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