A Woman Under the Influence

#3 of The John Cassavetes Project

I probably have to ponder over this one for a bit. It is such a discomforting, complex and intense portrait of a dysfunctional family and--building on what 'Faces' was working with--gender politics. It is a largely subtle movie with bursts of emotions that spill out every now and then to give an enduring feeling of stress and claustrophobia. It reminds me of Breaking the Waves in its interesting content put out at a grueling pace but where that film had an astoundingly cathartic ending, this one has you queasy even as the credits start rolling.

And that's where I'm having difficulty with this film.

Cassavetes wants you to make out what the ultimate resolution is in a way, but at the same time, he still gives some piece of it, but it's a tough pill to swallow, and if you want to take it from end to end, it is rather bleak and depressing even.

At the very least, the raw emotional power and dimension to its characters is remarkable, so even if I don't sit well with its ending, I think it is a certifiably tremendous film.