You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this unforgettable frontier flick – ‘Meek’s Cutoff.’
When I hear of a modern-day Western, I immediately think of True Grit or There Will Be Blood. But Meek’s Cutoff, directed by Kelly Reichardt, is not like these two films at all – it’s in a league of its own. The Cinema Society & Nancy Gonzalez hosted a screening of this western-with-a-twist on March 28 and it was both brilliant and beautiful!
Michelle Williams and Kelly were at the screening the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in NYC. Set in 1845, the film follows three families as they make their way along the Oregon Trail to a better life out West. Guided by rough-and-tough mountain man Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood), the group struggles to survive in the dry, dusty plains.
But everything changes when they come across a Native American who can’t speak their language but knows the terrain. So the group decides to take him on their journey, hoping he’ll steer them in the right direction – towards water and away from an angry tribe.
Michelle is the smart, eldest daughter, Emily Tetherow, who keeps her family intact when it could fall apart at the seams. Coming off the heels of Blue Valentine, where she bared it all to play the love-torn Cindy Heller alongside Ryan Gosling, Meek’s is a drastic change. She is all layered-up in a paisley pink petticoat for this film. And she portrays a fearless frontierswoman with tremendous skills: she can knit, sew, and even shoot a gun.
Emily also has a tremendous heart. She sympathizes with the guide more than any other character, making her a role model to family friends Millie Gately (Zoe Kazan) and Thomas Gately (Paul Dano). And we see Emily’s sensitive side shine through when like when she goes out of her way to sew the native’s broken boots.
The movie itself is slow moving but beautiful to watch, a cross between a documentary and a western drama. There are so many stunning scenic shots that you sometimes get lost in the landscape, just like the characters in this story.
There’s also not a lot of dialogue in this film — at the start, a whole 15 minutes goes by before we hear a single peep out of any character. But the director makes up for it by paying close attention to facial expressions and body language.
After the film, moviegoers headed to the Jimmy at the James Hotel to celebrate with some sweet Appleton Estate cocktails. Other celebs in attendance were Sheryl Crow, Courtney Love, Alan Cumming and Sophia Coppola.
Don’t miss Meek’s Cutoff when it hits theaters April 8!