3 Women

3 Women ★★★★★

There’s something magical and pure about Shelley Duvall. The huge eyes, the lanky body, and the benevolence that seems to radiate from deep inside her. It all seems fragile, though, like it could shatter at any moment.

Before all the dream logic and confluence of identities in 3 Women, you have Shelley Duvall’s Millie. She helps octogenarians exercise in a pool, her bright and airy voice cajoling them along. Sissy Spacek plays Pinkie, whose instant adulation seems so at odds with the indifference and derision Duvall receives from her other colleagues. When Millie introduces Pinkie to the other residents at her apartment building, they crack jokes under their breath and roll their eyes.

Spacek and Janice Rule are also great in this film, and there are so many other aspects to praise, but Shelley Duvall always stands out. She’s a wonder in the Altman films, she’s a wonder singing “He Needs Me,” and despite (not because of) everything she went through-she’s a wonder in The Shining. Her mental health issues are well-documented... unfortunately so. She’s a survivor, though, and we’re all the better for it.

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