Certain Women, Film Review. Picturehouse@F.A.C.T., Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * *

Cast: Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Kristin Stewart, Lily Gladstone, James Le Gros, Jared Harris, Rene Auberjonis, Ashlie Atkinson, Guy Boyd, Edelen McWilliams, John Getz, James Jordan, Matt McTighe, Joshua T. Fonkalafi, Sara Rodier, Stephanie Campbell, Kilty Reidy, Marceline Hugot, Zena Dell Lowe, Kory Gunderson.

There is always a high expectation when it comes to some films, the anticipation in which well documented narrative might offer a new direction of thought in appreciation in how others live, how to see the world through the eyes of another might produce some much needed empathy in a world dominated by the fast, the furious and the often extraordinary; it is always a hope, one sometimes fulfilled, yet sadly, not many revelations are to gleaned in Certain Women.

If there is to be a guiding presence in the film then it is to Lily Gladstone that the cinema goer should be looking to for the inspiration, the sheer depth of the way she portrays unwanted solitude is to be congratulated and brings to mind the agony of such wilderness, the untamed land in which you might not see another human being for days, weeks or even months. The peace we often require is a double edged sword as the creeping loneliness becomes too much to bear and the isolation an open ended prison.

Ms. Gladstone shows the fleeting hope of having someone to talk to, someone to converse with and perhaps gain friendship to the point where the damage already endured by her character of only having horses and a dog for company is too much to take in; the rejection she faces is an emotion in which we all can readily judge but few can truly understand how it becomes possible. Whilst Lily Gladstone is on screen the film takes a huge upturn and yet even though the drama in her life is slow to unfold, the actor brings the audience to the brink of her own isolation in the American mid west.

The film as a whole though verges on the unremarkable, the slight intersection of the lives of the three women are indistinct and lacking in any much needed cohesion; the thought occurs that had the three stories been separate as was possibly intended, then they might have fared better, even as a trilogy in the exploration of female values and aspirations, it would have been far superior.

A disappointing affair made light for a while in the tale of the ranchhand in search of companionship, Certain Women is, unfortunately, not a feast for the imagination and is a shame with the acting quality on screen.

Ian D. Hall