Kristen Stewart is currently at Sundance promoting her new film, Certain Women, by director Kelly Reichardt.
Thanks to impressive performances in films like Clouds of Sils Maria and Still Alice, the Stewart has finally broken free from her Twilight days, and is now showing off her acting prowess in a series of great — and feminist — movie roles.
Her latest film – based on short stories by Maile Meloy – follows three women’s (Stewart, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern) living in a small town in Montana. Stewart plays an overworked lawyer teaching a night class to newcomer Lily Gladstone’s lonely, longing student; Williams is one half of a couple in the midst of building a house; Dern takes on the role of a lawyer unwillingly tasked with talking a troubled client down from a hostage situation.
Their lives are incredibly different from one another, but, as Stewart explained on the red carpet, they’re all connected in one significant way.
It’s like every movie that’s overtly commercial needs to be about women overcoming something unbelievable, or it’s a love story. [Certain Women] tells three very different stories about working women, women who are not seeing everything in front of them, women who are making enormous misconnections and who are not top dogs, who are actually just trying to figure something out, who are all quite confused. And that’s more interesting than somebody, like, prevailing over some massive feat.”
All three stories involve somebody who is desirous of something that they can’t have. They’re fixated on something, but really what they’re actually concerned with is something very different… they’re just very particular people, they’re people who don’t see everything, they’re people you want to tap on the shoulder and say, you’re really missing the ball here.”
For Stewart, her role of Beth Travis, a distracted young woman who doesn’t understand the full extent of her student’s interest in her, was a stark departure from the typical parts for women in film.
I basically wanted to play somebody who is distracted and not seeing what was in front of her, because usually in movies, especially the young female protagonist, it’s like we need to lead you through the entire story very obviously. This was just about two lonely unobservant typical girls that just aren’t seeing each other quite clearly. I thought that was quite interesting.”
Stewart, said last year that she “made a conscious decision to avoid blockbusters and choose smaller projects that might attract less attention, but are going to satisfy me artistically.”