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…
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.
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…
Not much to add to my Time Out New York review, written for its Film Forum run in 2002, back when there was still no DVD. I've seen this three times now and on both repeat viewings it's turned out to be much weirder and more impervious to analysis than I remembered. That's mostly a good thing.
An insert provided with the DVD of Mulholland Drive offers "David Lynch's ten clues to unlocking this thriller," directing confused viewers to "notice appearances of the red lampshade" and "pay particular attention to the beginning of the film." Robert Altman's 3 Women—a tour de force of dream logic set in Southern California, involving two young women whose identities shift like tectonic…
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.
Robert Altman's most European film (by which I mean his least overtly commercial and most interestingly avant-garde) explores connections between three quirky, complex women in late 1970s California, culminating in a dream-like final act that impresses on an affective level without feeling any need to explain itself rationally. Imagine Bergman's Persona played out in a yellow-linoleum kitchen with a Doobie Brothers record playing on the turntable.
I thought I would just put this on for a minute to see what it was like, but I literally couldn't turn it off. People say this, but its hardly ever happened to me. This movie cast a spell over me.
Altman is a fascinating filmmaker and this is probably my favourite movie of his so far. Its beautifully shot, with a dreamlike quality, and the characters Shelley and Cissy play are so adorable they just draw you in. Actors own their parts because of just how much free rein Altman gives them, and it happens to really gel with these actors.
The film is ambiguous, and I'm not entirely sure what happened in the second half, but its not…
Slow moving, yet oddly intriguing. I couldn't look away. Very eerie and, well, if you're uncomfortable with ambiguity, this is one to skip! Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall are both darling and magnificent.
Kind of distracting though because the only thing I could think of while watching it was "If Carrie White and Wendy Torrance had been room mates..."
This is a difficult movie for me to rate. While I didn't really like the movie, I have to admit that I was somewhat captivated by it and I kept thinking about it for some time after. Of course, I was thinking, "What in the holy hell was this movie about, anyway?"
I had read that this film came to the director, Altman, in a dream, and I can believe it. The film has a definite dreamlike feel to it. People don't react or respond the way they should in real life, but rather as they would in a dream - nonsensical, illogical.
I did find Shelley Duvall's performance riveting. She plays a woman who is obsessed with the latest…
Very enticing film about the roles women and men can play in society, and the physiological reaction people can have to each other.
My review: blueprintreview.co.uk/2015/07/3-women/
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The first half resonated with me deeply, especially the background noise of other people's conversations. I'm still trying to figure out why that in particular was so haunting: the sound mixing? (Was it ADR? Were the extras just further away from the mic?) Or is it just how scenes were blocked, so that you don't see anyone talking to Duvall for any period of time?
Also: super disappointed in Netflix's streaming quality as of late. Some darker scenes in this were so grainy as to be nearly unintelligible.
A really unsettling experience. I tried my best to write something articulate, but it's a film on such a wavelength of it's own that it really is hard to discuss. Based on a series of dreams the director had, there's no real rhyme or reason for what we see. We're left to observe and ponder, and be absolutely terrified by our own fears; Our own "what ifs". What if someone started to inhabit your identity?
Robert Altman's 3 Women is a film that didn't make a lot sense. It's been reported that it was shot without a full screenplay and was based on Altman's own dreams, so maybe it wasn't supposed to. That's all fine and dandy, but much like a dream it felt fragmented and at times incoherent. This has worked in a lot of films (watch anything by David Lynch), but here the lack of a cohesive story is detrimental in my opinion. It requires the viewer to fall in love with the spooky imagery, desert landscapes, and quirky performances to really enjoy it I think. I was fine with those things, but I would have enjoyed it a lot more with a fully realized story.
The Ron Says: See it.
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