Don’t expect Certain Women’s tale of four disparate Montana women whose lives crisscross to end with the quartet comfortably telescoping in one central locale. The opening section, involving Laura Dern as a lawyer whose male client places more faith in the judgment of a man than a woman, is fairly standard stuff. But then Dern suddenly finds herself in the role of hostage negotiator, and it isn’t until she breaks free of the network drama constraints that filmmaker Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy) turns in the direction of exploring a favorite theme: where closeness lies within people. She comes to the conclusion that the odd connections one forms with strangers in passing is frequently stronger than the ones found in intimate relationships. A moonlight horseback ride between infatuated student (Lily Gladstone) and beleaguered teacher (Kristen Stewart) is at once this year’s most romantic and heartbreaking scene. Beautifully filmed and performed — the opening sequence using mirrors and doorframes to fuse the torsos of two characters to form a whole — is stunning, but in the end, the overall concept left me in the dark. (2016) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.