Certain Women is a great short film starring Laura Dern. Too bad the movie includes another hour of boring-as-sin filler.
From the director of the well-made Wendy and Lucy comes a movie that isn’t nearly as good, a dull, aimless affair split into three, marginally connected stories, each worse than the one that precedes it.
The first segment, which stars Laura Dern as a lawyer stuck dealing with an extremely agitated client who has no shot at winning his case, is well done. Dern is fantastic, as is a nearly unrecognizable Jared Harris. The segment introduces a couple of interesting characters, demonstrates purpose and sets the bar high for the rest of the film.
A waste of an hour.
Dern disappears, and Certain Women then focuses on Wendy and Lucy star Michelle Williams as she attempts to buy some rocks from a confused/lonely old man (Rene Auberjonois). Auberjonois is great and the exchange between the two of them is mildly interesting, but Williams’ character is so utterly forgettable it’s impossible to really care.
And then the movie shifts gear to a story about a lonely young woman (Lily Gladstone) who wants friendship or more from her night school teacher (Kristen Stewart), who has to drive four hours each way just to teach the class. The two women talk, it’s clearly a one-sided attraction, and the most exciting thing that happens is that one of the two falls asleep at the wheel and rolls into a farm field. In the words of my wife, who walked out partway through to go clean our cat’s litter box, “Boring as f**k.”
Listen. There are probably some great underlying themes found throughout this movie. Each of the segments features a woman making a bold decision about her life (well, Michelle William’s character, not so much… “I bought some rocks!”). The acting is good. But listen. That doesn’t matter. None of that matters if the movie isn’t entertaining. Or at least interesting. And Certain Women is neither of those things.
Going into Certain Women, I was positive that I would find the movie more interesting than its “please don’t watch this” movie poster. Now I know the marketing team was trying to send a message: don’t bother.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.