Filmmaker Kelly Reichardt makes small and quiet films that have a large emotional landscape to them. Her latest, “Certain Women,” is a tapestry of different, interweaving tales about women in Montana. Laura Dern plays a lawyer having an affair who finds herself defending a local laborer (Jared Harris). Kristen Stewart portrays a recently graduated lawyer trying to pick up extra money by offering legal workshops for teachers, who becomes an object of fascination from a young female ranch hand (Lily Gladstone). Elsewhere, Michelle Williams and James LeGros play a married couple who decide to build a new home outside their town while they negotiate with their disinterested daughter, played by Sara Rodier, and struggle with other problems. Here’s the official synopsis:
Set against the Big Sky backdrop of southern Montana and reflecting both the immense scope and profound stillness of its setting, “Certain Women” examines the moments both large and small that make up the lives of strong, independent women looking for ways to understand and shape the world around them.
“Certain Women” is utterly enthralling,” read our review from Sundance, where the film premiered. “The glacial storytelling has a mesmerizing effect, and also gives audiences time to drink in the big skies.”
At the recent New York Film Festival debut of the film, Kristen Stewart, Kelly Reichardt, Laura Dern, and Lily Gladstone were all in attendance to discuss the movie’s quiet power. Here are some highlights:
Kristen Stewart on working with Kelly Reichardt
“The thing I really dig [about Kelly’s movies] is that it takes forever,” she said.“ ‘What’s the most important part? Like, show me the moment where something happens?’ And that’s what we’re used to seeing in movies. Look at the stuff that goes on in between stuff, like getting to and fro and stuff like that. It’s really vulnerable to not play something. All of a sudden you start reviewing things rather than displaying them. That’s what I love about her movies!”
Kristen Stewart says her terrific run of working with auteurs like Olivier Assayas, Ang Lee and Kelly Reichardt is “extremely lucky”
“I typically don’t have to spend more than five minutes in a room with [a director] to know if I want to explore something with them and I’m just kind of navigating. I’ve worked recently with a lot of people I’ve grown up really loving. This is a great thing. I feel super-lucky and it’s super-conducive to making, like, good shit and because I think I have good taste,” she laughed.
“Also, at the same time, like, I really love not, like, not knowing that something’s going to be good and spending a few minutes with someone and going, ‘Shit, you’ve never done this before?’ Well, let’s do it now. So there’s no, like, formula. That’s so not how you’re ever gonna make anything worthwhile. It’s like, yeah, I’m really not precious about it. I’ve just gotten super-lucky lately,” Stewart added.
You can watch the full 35-minute talk below. “Certain Women” opens on October 14th.
Update: also watch “An Evening with Kristen Stewart,” a 22 minute talk from NYFF with Kent Jones.