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ReFocus: The Films of Kelly Reichardt$
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E. Dawn Hall

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411127

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411127.001.0001

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Solidification: Certain Women

Solidification: Certain Women

Chapter:
(p.132) Chapter 9 Solidification: Certain Women
Source:
ReFocus: The Films of Kelly Reichardt
Author(s):

E. Dawn Hall

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411127.003.0009

This chapter is a close reading of the film Certain Women that explores lost and isolated characters who are content to remain outsiders or on the margins. Adapted from short stories by Maile Meloy, the film is divided into three episodes, and this chapter discusses the production methods, form, and content that focuses on working women and their relationships. Laura (Laura Dern) is a lawyer wrangling a volatile client; Gina (Michelle Williams) is a successful entrepreneur struggling to find balance within her family; and Jamie, a Native American rancher (Lily Gladtone) is battling isolation and infatuation with her teacher, Beth Travis (Kristen Stewart). Reichardt’s cinematic auteur characteristics are all showcased as is her thought-provoking social commentary. The expansive Montana landscapes and barren winter setting reflect the emotional state of the characters and Reichardt’s minimalism creates an authentic portrayal of a flawed, complex, and vulnerable humanity. The chapter also explores adaptation theory arguing that Reichardt creates a “new work of art” allowing audiences to add their own interpretations.

Keywords:   Certain Women, Maile Meloy, Adaptation theory, Montana, Minimalism, Native American, Auteur, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Art

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