3 Women

3 Women ★★★★★

A fascinatingly eerie drama that writer/director Robert Altman based on a series of dreams that he had. Some of them were definitely nightmares.

Millie (Shelley Duvall) is an attendant at a rehabilitation clinic for elderly people in a quirky desert town. She is training the new girl, Pinky (Sissy Spacek), an odd sort from out of town. Pinky takes an immediate and intense liking to Millie, and Spacek does a phenomenal job keeping us unsure of Pinky as a character. Is she just an eccentric wallflower with a crush, or is there something more sinister about her? Their relationship becomes increasingly troubling in surprising ways once they become roommates.

The third woman is a strange, pregnant artist named Willie (Janice Rule), whose beyond-creepy murals that pop up everywhere seem to follow Millie and Pinky around.

All three actresses are fantastic, but Duvall is particularly affecting. She's a deeply lonely woman who masks her loneliness with nearly-constant chatter that she is completely unaware alienates her from the potential friends and lovers whom she is so desperate to be close to. I love all the idiosyncrasies of her character, the way she brushes her hair with a toothbrush, her chain-smoking, the way she always drives around with her dress stuck in the car door, etc...

So much to think about in this movie, and so many tantalizing and mysterious loose ends. It may be debatable whether or not it's a horror film, but I know I've rarely seen a more creepy or unsettling one.

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