Love Streams

Cassavetes (I finally figured out there's only one T in his name) remains elusive to me. I am impressed by his work. I am intrigued. I enjoy, if that's the right word, his films. Shadows stands out as a great film in my mind. A Woman Under the Influence has a powerful heart to it in the central performances of Rowlands and Falk that moved me when I watched it. But most of his films, Love Streams included, always seem too overstuffed, too wild, too chaotically emotional for me to relate. I appreciate that the lives I am witnessing are real on an emotional level, but they are not ones I can truly understand.

Perhaps the best contrast is A Woman Under the Influence, where Rowlands' desperation and Falk's frustration were both tempered by moments of genuine affection. It was the latter that moved me. Love Streams has these moments between Cassavetes' Robert and and Rowlands' Sarah, but they are too quiet to be heard in the raucous zoo (at one point, almost literally) of melodramatic madness. These are two people whose lives are falling apart in one way or another, and the sound of this slow, agonizing crash is defeating their better moments.

Which is not to say that this film is bad because of it. As a depiction of emotional turmoil, I can scarcely imagine better, but I can't say that even in my darkest moments have I found myself in such a downfall (my depression is more the stay-in-bed kind, I'm afraid; perhaps it's the lack of money. I can't afford to get depressed like they do). And so, of course, this doesn't rip my soul apart the way I expect it can others.

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