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 admire Altman's craft, certainly, when he delivers images like Millie crossing a massive mural of mutated, naked human beings with their genitals askew and erect, their faces distorted in what looks to me like horror. Or when he shows just a bit of Millie's dress sticking out from her car door (the first image I needed to capture in this film) or Pinky's curled, broken form in the pool (or just before, standing up to the rail). Some of these evoke wonder, some horror, some just surreal desire (what can I say). But.
Well, before but. Everyone seems to talk about how the three women merge into one balanced being or whatever, but no one really seems to reflect…
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 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.
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.
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…
There are not many cinematic experiences quite like Robert Altman's 3 Women, nor are there many where it is so hard to pinpoint why it the film is so engaging and fascinating. What is presented on screen seems cut and dry and evocative of a well crafted tale of feminine obsession, but where the film shines paradoxically is what isn't presented. Never giving you the benefit to come forth with its design, 3 Women comes through in waves of fragmented but potent emotion that infect nearly every frame of the film with a mystique that is difficult to relate to anything else. There is an ethereal quality to this film which gives it this mesmerizing hold on your senses, where…
A recent rewatch demands another rewatch. Utterly beguiling.
We are not asking who the third man is in this one, rather who is the 3rd women? Shelly Duvall read children's books to me on a VHS I used to get. That was my introduction to her, later to find out she was Altman's ultimate protégé in my opinion. This is my 5th Altman film and it was very good. Loved the music and the two lead performances. Interesting Altman, check it out if you are a fan of his older films. Makes me want to add The Long Goodbye to my wishlist. (Altman is for spaced out hippie wierdos what Scorsese was to back east street crime urchins.) (Side note: The paintings shown throughout are great)
Four words come to mind about this movie:
A perfect companion to Persona and Mulholland Dr. Someday I'll watch these as a triple feature and my brain will blow up. Adapted from a dream Altman had, and you can definitely tell. Spacek and Duvall are both great.
An ambiguous and surreal psychological drama. Maybe my favourite Altman, although Long Goodbye could very easily be that too. Fascinating from start to finish, directed so that weird stuff is always going on without it being obvious. The second half of the movie becomes so insane in a very low-key fashion.
It's like Mulholland Drive except older.
Starts out as a proto mumblecore before veering off through Hitchcock-ville through Polanski-town and Bergman-Cityb by way of DePalma heights. By the end you realize you've been in Jane Campion's universe the whole time.
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…