Collin Taylor’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is such a brilliant film, and it's hard to put in words why it is.
On the surface, this is three hours of a mother doing housework. She's living the normal routines of the day, and nothing ever sticks out. Her son is quiet, and barely speaks to her. She's a prostitute to raise money, and her endless amount of repetition in her life is astounding.
Someone saying this film is pointless is a fake criticism. I think the whole point of this movie is about the struggles of single motherhood and pure loneliness. Chantal Akerman is such a talented director in that she always has me intrigued with some of the most blantant tasks.
This is tough to watch. You need incredible patience. At the end, you may not love it as much as I did. You may find it boring and uneventful. Yet, just think about the film as a whole. Reflect on its themes. It's not just random housework, there's something hiding under all of that in its ambiguous narrative.
There isn't a musical score. There isn't a single camera movement. The camera is always locked down the entire time. Every setting is basically shot the exact same. This obviously represents the dullness of Jeanne Dielman's life. It's that nothing ever changes. Life endlessly repeats itself all the time. It can be such a drag that it can ruin yourself. This is captured at the very unexpected ending which had me staring in awe.
I found this very transfixing. It's as if I was being hypnotized. I was like a slave watching the endless amounts of chores. Akerman pulls you in, and never lets you go.
If you can't take a three hour film without it having a huge action set piece, then I suggest you shouldn't watch this movie. This is a slow-moving piece of the ultimate struggles of a repeating lifestyle in the form of a single mother. Brilliant damn cinema, right here folks.