Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Woman Under the Influence - 1974 - Dir. Cassavetes

Oh shit! It's another Cassavetes flick! EASILY, the most difficult one to watch. This is mostly due to Gena Rowlands. Who does a really incredible job of being a big 'ole nutcase. I mean, she really puts on quite a performance. I don't think I see a lot of performances like the one she puts on. Rowlands peppers her role with "ba-ba"s and sputtering sounds. Crazy looks. OH MAN! And there is so much word mouthing. You know, Cassavetes has tons of mouthing words but this one really seems to take the cake. Rowlands really puts on her manic pants for the role, I was surprised it was the same woman who played the Whore from Faces. I mean, Peter Falk is pretty incredible too. But what I found really incredible about his character, Nick, was sort of how unlikable and sympathetic he can be at the same time. You know, he's a stressed out guy. I think the complexities of Rowlands and Falk are really what make this movie. It's a really uncomfortable film to watch. Sort of the Cassavetes I had been expecting to see from the start. A kind of unflinching portrayal. And it sure it. I got a little squirmy as the film went on. So much of the film is Rowlands being made socially awkward and trying to figure out if Nick knows what he's doing. So we're seeing a lot of socially awkward situations, but that's not new for a Cassavetes' film, but what feels new about this is the awkwardness is sort of hushed. Everyone is SUPER forgiving and patient of Rowlands (for the most part). There are occasional bursts of anger and screaming, of course. I remember hearing that Cassavetes was very interested in people's inability to communicate love for one another. And that seems the most clear in Woman. There is definitely a love between the characters but all of the standards they hold themselves to. So, I dunno, I don't think I like Woman as much as I liked saaaay Faces. In fact, honestly, I've been pretty caught up in that film since I've seen it. It really blew me out of the water. But Woman is definitely a memorable Cassavetes and I'm sure it will be sticking with me for a good while.


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