One of the most memorable breakout performances of the last few years was Lily Gladstone in Kelly Reichardt’s 2016 film, Certain Women. She is quietly devastating in that film, and I have not forgotten her since. Gladstone is one of a handful of actors whose IMDB pages I check regularly, keeping an eye on what she’s up to, and while Gladstone has worked steadily since Certain Women, most notably with a recurring role in Billions and reteaming with Reichardt in First Cow last year, she’s never quite gotten the follow-up she deserved coming off Certain Women. But now, finally, five years later, Gladstone has bagged one of those headline-generating parts: she will star opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon.
This is Martin Scorsese’s new movie which is backed by Apple because not even Scorsese can get a blank check from a traditional studio anymore. It’s based on David Grann’s book of the same name, about the Osage murders in 1920s Oklahoma, which occurred after the Osage Nation was awarded rights to and control of oil-rich land. White folks didn’t like that, and so began a four year “Reign of Terror” in which at least 20 Osage were murdered for their land and oil rights. Robert De Niro is going to play William Hale, the mastermind of the scheme, and Gladstone will play Mollie Burkhart, the Osage wife of white rancher Ernest Burkhart (DiCaprio). Mollie is a tragic figure amidst all the murder and death, caught between the husband she stands by and the absolute wreckage his family brings to her people.
I cannot WAIT to see what Gladstone does with this role. I don’t care about DiCaprio and De Niro, I just want everyone to see how wonderful and powerful Gladstone is on screen. And yes, I am fully aware that this is a This Boy’s Life reunion, but DiCaprio and De Niro have gotten plenty of attention over the years for being great actors, they can sit comfortably in the backseat this one time. We need to fully appreciate Lily Gladstone and then give her every opportunity typically afforded to white actresses after an indie breakout like Certain Women. It should not have taken five years for her next big role to materialize, but now we have a second chance to do right by Gladstone. As far as I am concerned, Killers of the Flower Moon stars precisely one (1) person: Lily Gladstone.