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…
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.
This movie is weird and good and pretty and fucked up and has maybe the best ending of anything.
Bodhi Wind's murals steal the show, holy shit, like Dorothy Iannone mixed with Mayan frescoes.
Film #11 for Movie Club
The only other Robert Altman films I've seen up until now are called 'Popeye' (Google it) and 'M*A*S*H' so I was expecting something sort of satirical and filled with dreamscapes. Boy did I not really see it coming to this degree!
Dreams and dreaming are all over this film, from an early story by the character Millie to the final line. Knowing a little bit about the production and the fact the story came from a dream of Altman's, it's easy to understand the method he took. As in dreams, there's a lot of repetition of imagery and simple, yet strange interactions with minor characters. Usually, I'm turned off by directors and writers beating their…
It starts innocent and then goes into a realm of its own.
3 Woman is Robert Altman's psychological drama centred around three very different woman that seem to change their personalities very drastically through the course of the film. Are they swapping bodies? Are they not happy with their identity so they take on the others? Who knows? the dil leaves very little answers and I applaud a filmmaker who is willing to take that risk and still make a film that always keeps the viewers attention.
The writing is exquisite from begging to end and the atmosphere Altman creates is incredible. But, like many of Altman's films, it didn't latch itself onto me. It was simply something I watched…
Why is this movie called 3 Women? There's like eight different women in the movie. The twins count as two right? That's just sexist of Robert Altman.
Well besides the misleading title, the movie is great! It's kind of like Muholland Drive 20 some years before Muholland Drive, but not as out-and-out weird.
I'm not sure I understood all the shots of grotesque paintings, but I'm guessing there's some meaning there. Let me think about it a bit.
Sissy and Shelley were great here. It may be Shelley's most nuanced performance since Popeye.
I went in thinking I was getting a story about women comforting each other through failing relationships and shit like that. What I got was an interesting,…
Film #11 for Movie Club
Apparently adapted from a series of dreams experienced by director Robert Altman, 3 Women is a strange, lyrical film about the nature of self and identity.
Pinky starts working at a spa in California and becomes friends with a co-worker named Millie. Her interest in Millie quickly seems to tip over into an obsession and Pinky tells Millie that she thinks she's perfect. Which is, of course, music to Millie's ears as she has a carefully constructed identity that involves recipes and decorating (and constantly chit chatting about both while being ignored by everyone around her). But Pinky seems to be the one person who appreciates her.
This relationship does eventually sour, after Millie yells…
If you drag the Scandinavian coldness of Persona out into the California desert, you get 3 Women. And like Bergman’s great mystery, this is another movie that I love but for reasons which aren’t quite clear even to me. Questions of “Well... what happened?” can’t be satisfactorily answered in the literal sense. There are some symbols you can latch onto: mirrors are the obvious example, but maybe there’s something to the prevalence of water too. Could it be that water represents a liquid mirror you can pass through? A looking glass as well as a portal? And is there something elemental about this story of two women swapping personalities that makes it work so well? (You could take this, Persona,…
Inch-by-inch creepiness accretion....the role reversal isn't quite that...it's like Spacek assuming Duvall's behavioral extremities, so then Duvall, not in any way a different character, becomes tepid by comparison. And so it's very invasive, because there's really nothing to be done about it, and the rest of the 'world' is so flat and mellow that the oddity doesn't make a dent, and Duvall is steadily phased out. It's nightmarish, and very purple, apportioned in equally tacky (apartment complex!) and painterly (the pool paintings!) amounts. The diaphanous filter stuff is icing.
I hated the pacing, characters, and dialogue from this film. It was shot well I guess?
This was an unexpected mind-blower. Absolutely mesmerizing and weird, with that lush 1970s cinematography. I didn't totally dig some of the music, but otherwise loved this mysterious film. A puzzle to be solved, maybe, after more viewings. Side note: amazing what a little make-up does for Sissy Spacek.
Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…