Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FI: A Woman Under the Influence

A powerful movie, though (like most Cassavetes) not entirely suited to my tastes, A Woman Under the Influence shows in exacting detail the madness of a family. I'm not entirely sure what Cassavetes is saying, here, because his films aim for something other than simple messages. Through his naturalistic dialog and non-traditional cinematic techniques, Cassavetes replicates something of the uncomfortable ambiguity of life itself. Rowlands is fantastic and utterly believable as a wife and mother who has seemingly lost her center, and Falk is effective as a working-class husband who is just as ill-equipped to deal with his life as his wife. Deliberately long and unfocused, the film MIGHT try your patience and certainly won't satisfy if you're searching for a simple narrative structure, but given half a chance, it's a compelling and emotional look into lives not as unfamiliar as we'd like to pretend.


  1. I have real mixed feelings about this movie. I love the acting and respect how it was filmed but in some ways I just get bored with it.

    This is true at one level or another of all the Cassavetes movies I have seen

  2. @spurge I am with you, though I think this is only the third Cassavetes film I've seen (after Opening Night and Shadows). I GET how his aesthetic was new, revolutionary even, and how he paved the way for the intense, character-based indie dramas that followed, so I have tons of respect for his work.

    ... but I usually do tend to zone out a bit, especially when I can't relate to the characters (which happens often since he didn't write characters in the hopes of making you like them).

  3. I did love him in The Dirty Dozen. He sure can play crazy.