This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
A Woman Under the Influence
Nick is a blue collar man trying to deal with his wife's mental instability. He fights to keep a semblance of normality in the face of her bizarre behavior, but when her actions affect their children, he has her committed.
A devastating masterwork of one woman's downward spiral and a dry, humanist deconstruction of acceptable social politics. It is a film about family, commitment, desperation, redemption, endurance and the struggles of the working class. It is a film that sucked me right in with jaw-loosening, goosebumps-inducing acting. Gena Rowlands transforms herself. She becomes the distraught Mabel, an unimaginable character. It is so unconventional and uncompromising what she does in the first half, slowly losing her sense of "normal" public and private behavior. Her performance is nothing short of astonishing. Is she becoming mentally ill, or has she always been this way? Is she really mentally sick at all? The conclusion of her mental state lays entirely on the viewer. This…
Hate repeating old party lines on Letterboxd (is there anything more pointless than 100 reviews that all say “X actor really gives his/her all!”?), but must admit how much I’m struck by the control of Cassavetes’s camera in every scene; the incorrectly assumed improvisation is really the work of a master. What is more striking is that most of the important visual information is often teetering on the edges of the frame. One really great example is when Mabel goes to the bar. On the bottom of the frame, her hand pops in and out just enough so we can glimpse her ring finger. The hand goes away just as the bartender replaces that part of the image with the…
An occasionally riveting, but mostly insufferable, cinematic experience. Being my first Cassavetes film, I certainly admired the craft and the rambling energy of his camera, and the two lead performances are beyond words in their intimacy and their harshness, but I was never fully invested or even interested in what was unfolding.
I could make the argument that the film's long-winded set-piece moments don't work alongside its confined intensity, or that the film isn't so much a slow-burn as it is a car slowly running out of gas, but I really have no point in saying that because of my total indifference to the whole experience. I "get" the film, but it felt more like an errand.
I'm not sure if I can even begin to describe my sheer amazement at Gena Rowlands nuanced performance or my deep admiration for the realism of John Cassavetes. In many regards, I think one could almost classify A Woman Under the Influence as a kitchen sink drama with its domestic tension and entrapped claustrophobic character entanglements. Obviously the domestic aspect is of how small scale the film is set and those involved but I think Cassavete's realism shines through how he frames his characters as well. Rowlands descent into insanity is all the more amplified by how her real life husband Cassavete's films her in close ups while everyone else is usually at a distance. Perhaps signifying their distance in…
There’s nothing I love more in a movie than watching the slow, slow deterioration of a beautiful person. It’s the sort of bittersweet satisfaction of exploring the mind without having to focus in on your own. Cassavetes does that here in what feels almost like a therapy session you were forced into but one you realize you desperately need. The story he presents is simple: a mother struggling with mental illness and addiction attempts to please her family and friends but in effect reveals her crumbling psychological state. The film invites the audience to be a part of this family, really this community, and decide how they can help and what their responsibilities are in the care of this “delicate,…
All of a sudden, I miss everyone...
There's something special about John Cassavetes that makes me love his films. Perhaps its the natural feeling that is always present in his films, like how the characters are talking naturally like it's every day life. You feel like you aren't simply watching a movie, but rather having a personal experience. These experiences are only magnified by magnificent performances from the likes of Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, and even Cassavetes himself. The way he uses his actors in each of his films brings an impressive end product and extremely memorable films overall.
A Woman Under the Influence concerns a husband and wife named Nick and Mabel Longhetti (Rowlands and Falk). He is an…
An incredible work of monumental bravery from all those involved.
This is one of those essential films of pure commitment and honesty.
My first acquaintance with the work of Cassavetes as a director. And it's a direct hit for me right away. If the rest of his movies are as good as this one, he can very quickly become one of my favorite directors.
What i particularly liked about Woman Under the Influence is the way everything is brought over to the viewer. It feels so loose. It like it's just a moment out of the life of some people.The almost documentary like photography, the shots themselves as if the camera was turned on at a random, right moment to capture the drama the best. The subjects that are handled are quite heavy in tone and takes a toll on you during…
Moving. Astounding. Inspiring.
Obviously it was great, but it did prompt me to spend an hour coming up with a "Reasons Why I'll Never Get Married" film list
I'm not crazy.
You're the one that's crazy.
Gena Rowlands shines in this intense, almost claustrophobic look at how mental illness affects a working class family. I can't say I'm a fan of Cassavette's almost constant use of closeups. It's like we're watching the film through a magnifying glass, which is the idea but it's not pleasant for two and a half hours.
Each time we see Falk and Rowlands confront one another, the resulting exchange is simply overwhelming - it's some of the most passionate acting I've come across.
An extraordinary picture of the complex interpersonal aspects of mental illness (Cassavetes's camera work makes us feel like voyeurs spying on our neighbours' private lives), of an almost surreal quality, in that the awkward, uncommunicative, embarrassing behavior of the characters is so unlike what one normally sees on film. The performances of Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk are remarkably unrestrained and yet, it seems, precisely observed.
Mabel Longhetti gets restless one night when her husband Nick calls to say he’ll be working all night. Mabel’s frustration pushes her to go out drinking, eventually going home with another man, although it is unclear whether she does anything with him. As her strange behavior intensifies, particularly in the company of others, Nick…
Movies that are slightly off.