peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2022 10 07 AWomanUnderTheInfluence

A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

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Apparently this is generally considered Cassavetes's masterwork; it is at least his highest rated at IMDB (8.1). Gena Rowlands leads as the mentally-unwell wife of the mentally-unwell Peter Falk. He's very shouty and unnuanced. She's sometimes good but it's all a bit too much, too unmotivated. It took me many sittings to get through; the opening movements are promising but by the time we're on our way to the hospital I was struggling to focus. Too many scenes from then on are excruciatingly, unnecessarily long: the point gets made and made again and yet we still don't move along. I enjoyed Katherine Cassavetes as Falk's mum the most: she's got a deadpan screech, poise and stare that I find hilarious (as in Minnie and Moskowitz). I'm sure she was amazing on stage. Rowlands and Cassavetes as director got Oscar noms.

Roger Ebert: four stars at the time and another four stars as a "great movie" in 1988. Nora Sayre at the New York Times.