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Adapted from the short story collection Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want by Maile Meloy, Certain Women is a sensitively handled portrait of womanhood, which cuts back and forth between the lives of four women in Montana, whose futures gradually become entangled. Small-town lawyer Laura Wells (Laura Dern) is at the end of her tether, dealing with a client, Fuller (Jared Harris), who refuses to heed her advice about the pointlessness of suing his former employers over a workplace accident. She receives a telephone call from local police to tell her that Fuller has returned to his old workplace and taken a security guard hostage. At the behest of the authorities, Laura agrees to enter the building to try to talk Fuller into downing his weapon and ending the siege. Meanwhile, ranch hand Jamie (Lily Gladstone) absent-mindedly follows other drivers to a local school where a young lawyer, Beth Travis (Kristen Stewart), is teaching night classes. Jamie becomes fixated on Beth, who has a four-hour drive each way from her home in Livingston. An awkward friendship blossoms. Elsewhere in the state, Ryan Lewis (James LeGros) and his wife Gina (Michelle Williams) are at odds about how to raise their teenage daughter. Their argument simmers as they plough all of their time and money into building a new home, which would be made easier if a local man, Albert (Rene Auberjonois), would sell them his leftover pile of sandstone for a fair price.