Behind every great movie is a great women. At the center of Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women is the heart and soul of women all over the world. There are male counterparts, but the main focal point are four semi-connected female characters, played by Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, and Lily Gladstone, capturing them in their vulnerable human states for at least one day. Taking place in a small town of Montana, Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff) writes and directs, adapted from three short stories by Malie Meloy, which portray a glimpse into the subtle difficulties that these women accrue on a daily basis. Certain Women is genuine, with precise honesty, in one of the best movies of 2016.
American Pastoral is a large hunk of meat that director Ewan McGregor decided to bite into for his first time behind the camera. Although I respect the ambition from the Trainspotting star, his effort to turn Philip Roth’s 1997 novel into a success, is way more than even a well seasoned veteran could swallow. Part melodramatic and depressing, there is little to enjoy, in a tale that captures a dark transition from post WWII America to an instantly angry 60’s society. There is promise for better outputs by McGregor in the future, with kinder material, but American Pastoral is joyless.