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…
Like my parent's house when i was a kid but we were uglier.
3.5 out of 5 (B)
So apparently this month I was binging FT13 films and the work of Cassavetes.
one if not THE hardest film ive ever had to watch. gena rowlands is just unbelievable, i can't even put it into words or sentences... this story is so emotionally draining but nonetheless amazing, very real and raw. im in awe, it was fantastic.
Review under construction
It's a rare film that makes you feel so trapped in its world "A woman under the influence" transports you into grimy middle American domestic living and is one of the most harrowing depictions of mental illness I've seen. John Cassavete's dizzying documentary style never lets up, it is like you are watching harrowing scenes unfolding through an objective but deeply personal window . The performances especially by the kids and Jena Rowlands spend the majority of the film incessantly screaming twitching and flipping out I love how Cassavete's doesn't give a fuck about his audience, he is just making the film he wants to make - you can either deal with it or explode .
I wish Peter Falk would stop yelling.
In the spirit of the film I'm going to publish my notes as a review:
A woman allowed to be big and loud and messy and unrestrained
Cassavetes an excellent observer, he doesn't impose himself on his subject
Dysfunction as function...
A loving, capable mother
Af en toe was ik helemaal mee in de film, maar op andere momenten kon hij me totaal niet blijven boeien. Door mijn fascinatie voor het hoofdpersonage was de film toch dragelijk en genietbaar over het algemeen.
A list that, if nothing else, proves the day-to-day usefulness of applied statistics.
Between 2015 and 2016, a series of…
Movies that are slightly off.