A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Certain Women is a quiet indie drama about three women in rural Montana who struggle to navigate the challenges that come from everyday interactions with others. The strong cast features Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart. There's no sex or drinking to speak of (a couple of characters are shown in their underwear). Swearing is infrequent but includes "f-k" and "s--t." One character sometimes lights up a cigarette. Younger viewers may struggle to appreciate the movie's subtlety and slow pacing, but older teens and adults may see elements of the women's stories that they recognize in their own lives.
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What's the story?
Laura (Laura Dern) is a lawyer who's asked to go above and beyond when a client becomes despondent. Gina (Michelle Williams) is planning her dream house, despite her teenage daughter's obvious irritation -- and a husband who's less than fully supportive. And Beth (Kristen Stewart) is the new teacher at an evening continuing-education class who's befriended by a lonely ranch hand (Lily Gladstone). The three tales about these CERTAIN WOMEN are based on short stories by Maile Meloy and all set in rural Montana. They show people engaging in the everyday and the ordinary -- and sometimes frighteningly extraordinary -- as director Kelly Reichardt teases out the fundamental emotions that make the characters' experiences both meaningful and recognizable.
Is it any good?
Certain Women is a finely acted meditation on everyday women who are tested by everyday struggles, big and small. Great performances anchor a slow-to-build film that's somewhat undone by the feeling that, although much has happened, nothing much really has. Reichardt is great at establishing atmosphere, which this movie has in spades thanks to a broody palette. But in the end we're left to wonder what it's all about. Just like its title, Certain Women feels somewhat vague.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about relationships. What can you learn from the way the main characters in Certain Women connect with the people around them? Do their interactions seem natural? Can you find parallels in your own life?
How does the movie's pace compare the loud, fast storytelling that's common in today's film industry? Which do you prefer?
Do the women in the three stories demonstrate empathy for the people around them?
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