Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
A Woman Under the Influence
Peter Falk 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…
"Stand up for me"
The look and feel of this unbearably intense emotional drama is frankly stunning. At times I could barely breathe, but the presentation of this film is intoxicating.
Reminding of the later likes of Wenders and Cimino, I liked how it didn't take sides, all characters here have a perspective worth hearing. Falk and Rowlands at the epicentre give frighteningly real performances. Rowland's character I will never forget, a slightly emotionally unstable free spirit continually suffocated into a nervous breakdown by the social politics in her time and place. The rest of the characters try to get their heads around this character in their own way, with some more dismissively judgmental and destructive than others. The spectre…
Departures and homecomings
Always on the edge
Frames or otherwise.
Truth in the eyes.
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…
If you ever want to experience the cohesion of a director with his actors at its peak this is surely it. Both Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk out on life-changing performances which are captured and brought out perfectly by John Cassavetes. The emotional turmoil and the dark depths of the human mind are aired like dirty laundry in a truly disturbing but completely fascinating manor. The struggles and fights that mark the low-points of marriage and love is what gives birth to these performances of true realism by the two lead actors, and it is emotionally beautiful in the most depressing way possible. A truly amazing film.
I'll be whatever you want me to be.
How do you write about a movie that is so true, you forgot you were watching a movie? It has been a few weeks now, and my thoughts still go back to this first endeavor into Cassevetes. They go back to the turbulent performances, the in-your-face camerawork, the utterly draining emotions. Will I ever forget A Woman Under the Influence? Not anytime soon, certainly not so.
I speak honestly when I say I forgot I was watching a movie. Tunnel-vision is something I don't normally get even during the most intense films, but everything in Influence gears toward this, the blunt acting and documentary-style cinematography particularly complimenting each other. The script, too,…
I think I may have made a mistake viewing this movie before most of the other Cassavetes directorial efforts. This is a movie that should make most currently working directors green with envy, a film that should make them rethink their careers, and what they truly want to accomplish with film. This intimate, wholly real, incredibly moving and involving film is miles above most of the works I've seen from anyone else so far.
Rowlands again commands complete attention in this film; as Mabel, the wife of a hard working city employee, and mother of three young children, she is a woman that has been struggling under the various familial and societal demands being forced upon her for what we…
The best movie you would never want to see again. The lengthy uncomfortable sequences are broken up by a few beautifully simple moments, beers with dad in the back of the truck!
John Cassavetes is one of the few modern directors whose shots, scenes, dialogue and characters all instantly identify their creator; watch even a few seconds of a Cassavetes film, and you know whose it is, as certainly as with Hitchcock or Fellini. They are films with a great dread of silence; the characters talk, fight, joke, sing, confess, accuse. They need love desperately, and are bad at giving it and worse at receiving it, but God how they try.
Cassavetes (1929-89) is the most important of the American independent filmmakers. His “Shadows” (1959), shot in 16-mm. on a low budget and involving plausible people in unforced situations, arrived at the same time as the French New Wave and offered a…
Everything is wonderful, but goddamn, Gena Rowlands is the lifeblood of this film in a way I've never seen before.
Much of this gritty realistic film comes from the great Rowlands and Faulk. Especially Rowlands whose downward spiral is classic and memorable.
This is one of those films that is simultaneously really good and also really hard to sit through and watch. It's a realistic portrayal of two mentally distraught people, one unrestrained and energetic and the other visibly troubled and easily prone to anger. The portrayal of these characters by Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands are incredible and are exactly what this character driven story needs, but the performances are so good it makes you down right uncomfortable. The way these two characters act, one with seemingly no filter in how she acts and another that's quiet and overly sensitive, makes the film really hard to sit through because the dysfunction in their relationship is undeniably palpable and their dysfunction with…
stand up for me
Thank God for 35mm
The most uncomfortable I have ever felt watching a movie. Each moment is filled with tension between the wife and the husband it is almost unbearable, and it needs to feel that way to understand how the wife feels in this relationship. But this really makes it hard to watch and makes the 2 and a half hour run time feel like 4 hours.
First and foremost, this film contains(arguably, but just barely arguable at that)one of the greatest on screen female performances in the history of cinema. Most others that come to mind do not come close to Gena Rowland's portrayal of Mabel, a woman with a whimsical, yet disturbing case of mental illness. As a mother of 3, you watch as Nick, a husband to this sick woman(played wonderfully by Peter Falk)denies all comments on his wife's mental state, as his coworkers, family and even strangers commonly question him on Mabel's ability to be a productive individual in society, let alone raise her own children. Burning with pride for the community's impression of him and his loved ones, he frequently bursts into…
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
- Pulp Fiction
most recent update - Thursday, April 10, 2014, 11:23 PM EST
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