Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
1 woman became 2/2 women became 3/3 women became 1
Pinky is an awkward young teen who starts work at a spa in the CA. Desert. She becomes overly attached to fellow spa attendant, Millie when she becomes Millie's roommate. Mille is a lonely outcast who desperately tries to win attention with constant upbeat chatter. They hang out at a bar owned by a strange pregnant artist and her has-been cowboy husband. After each of 2 emotional crises, the three woman steal and trade each other's personalities until they settle into a new family unit that seems to give each woman what she was searching for.
Born from a dream and sharing the same inconsistent logic, Robert Altman’s 3 Women is a strange and elusive drama exploring the transitory nature of identities. Although best known for his narratively complex ensemble dramas it is Altman’s experimental chamber pieces that provide some of his most interesting work.
As the title implies, 3 Women, is centred on the complicated and shifting relationships between three women in the Californian desert. Sissy Spacek stars as the naive Pinky, a young woman from Texas who becomes obsessed with her colleague and roommate, Millie (Shelley Duvall). Millie is a woman with a deluded sense of confidence who is blindly ignored by all those around her. The third woman in this triumvirate is Janice…
I sort of wish the film ended at the 'dream' sequence. Altman remains perfectly ambiguous until then, and even had he not resolved the mystery, there would have been more than enough to draw one's own conclusions from it. It's in those final 10 minutes that the film becomes erratic and incoherent. Like Lost Highway, making sense doesn't seem to Altman's motive; but unlike Lynch's piece, the way Altman lays out the rest of the film seems to suggest it's leading somewhere concrete, leaving its resolution unfulfilling, vague, and virtually unknowable.
However, that's merely a fraction of the picture. The rest, following the eerie relationship shared between Duvall and…
A lot of Altman's films feel like dreams to me but this was the only one literally based on one. It is also the one that by the end, appears unfinished, like all dreams, but still feels like a full journey has been taken. Altman received the green light from 20th Century Fox without a finished screenplay, only the dream idea and who would play the leads. Further evidence of how much influence was turned over to these rule-breaking maverick filmmakers in the 70s. Makes modern studio output look like the nightmarish comittee-approved, watered down, juvenile-marketed, Twilight Zoney counter-universe that we all know it has become.
the failure of an attempted escape from a self-replicating cycle of inherited behavior, a whirlpool of prescribed femininity, its transmission from generation to generation a form of psychological transference. Janice Rule fires bullet after bullet at a picture of a snake eating its own tail.
I cannot begin to fathom, let alone fashion, a proper response to such pure cinematic poetry. As with seeing STRAW DOGS and KING LEAR before it, here is another of those all too terribly rare lucid viewing experiences. Discovering this film tonight, on 35mm, makes me feel confident that more or less waiting to thoroughly investigate Robert Altman's work by way of UCLA's very near-complete retrospective is a kind of incredible (if incidental) fortune. I'll also never forget the nameless man in tonight's audience who suddenly stood up during the film's final reel, as if unable to sit, and never sat back down until the end credits. It may be nothing, it may remain unexplained, but part of me feels as if the film elicited such an intense kinesthetic response (discomfort? terror? confusion?) that - for this man - sitting was simply not an option.
I was not ready for what I just watched. A seemingly innocent tale about two roommates who don't get along turns into a weird, near psychological horror.
There are some sequences in this movie that totally throw you off (in a good way of course). It's slow but never boring. I think that's mostly due to the fact that Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek are both excellent. It's a pretty quiet character study for the majority of the film and then it turns and gets dark and awesome.
SYMBOLISM: THE MOVIE
THIS IS THE BEST FILM EVER
One of R.E.'s "Great Films".
My first Robert Altman, and what a one to start with. I find it hard to believe that the same final plot turn would pass in a contemporary film, but that's perhaps because it has been over used. Maybe in 1977 that idea wasn't as worn out yet.
I think this is at once a very feminist film and also has a strong male gaze underneath it all. The main characters, Pinky and Millie, were building an independent life for themselves. They talked about men, yes, but I didn't get the feeling that they couldn't survive if men weren't around. However, the odd moments of sexual tension, Millie's infatuation with men, the strong character archetypes that the 3 women represent…
i felt completely disengaged from this film. i could not connect with it in any way. might be worth revisiting at some point.
"Twins. Bet it'd be weird. Do you think they know which ones they are?"
Altman's esoteric, estranged adaptation of a dream [or series of murals] quite suitably careens into didacticism. Yet none of what it's telling us is easy to digest. Playing with the idea of transference, the two leads missing each other in the middle as the other haunts the picture like a ghost, we are left with characters swirling in adoration without love and pity without empathy. By the end, they seem to shirk the social, civilised mediocrity expected of them to embrace their honest selves (represented in the other) as well as the moral, emotional and physical castration required of such admissions. Yet I must be wrong. My interpretation seems to fixed. This is a movie of many strikingly different wavelengths. To be so blunt, a tragic equality seems to be reached in it's final scenes.
Incredible stuff, so unsettling and fucked up all the way through, but did you understand the ending? Because I sure as hell didn't.
Oh man, this was good. It's kind of cool if you watch it thinking that it could be a sequel to Carrie and a prequel to The Shining. But Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duval are two of my favorite actresses and I absolutely adored this movie.
3 Women is an artsy movie filled with symbolism, but I think it also works on a more grounded/literal level and isn't tough to follow.
The story is about a girl, Sissy Spacek, who moves to California and gets a job at a rehabilitation center where seniors are guided through swimming pools for some exercise. Sissy ends up renting a bed at Shelley Duvall's (a co-workers) house. The movie largely focuses on this duo in their day-to-day routine, though we eventually meet the third woman, the pregnant Janice Rule, to give us our "3 Women".
However, at that point things (intentionally) go a bit off the rails, with characters seeming to shift and blur and... what is it all about?…
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
- A Page of Madness
- Un Chien Andalou
- L'âge d'or
- Meshes of the Afternoon
A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…