Monday, February 23, 2009
A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)
How do I follow up the trashy classic Trip with a Teacher? Well, in my (warped) world, a classic is a classic. How about a Cassavetes film? Hey why not? Blasphemy you say? Perhaps, but that just makes this blog more fun. I am too self centered to care about what the readers want. I review what I want, when I want and if you don't like it, you can go pound sand. Just kidding folks. I love you all.
A Woman Under the Influence follows Nick (Peter Falk) and his eccentric wife Mabel (Gena Rowlands) through their day to day routines. Nick has to work late so Mabel goes to a bar and brings home a man, has some neighborhood kids over for a disastrous birthday party, embarrasses herself and her husband when he brings his co-workers home for a nice meal, etc. You know, the usual. Nick soon realizes that his wife is crazy and has her committed to a mental hospital for six months. It is up to Nick to now take care of their three kids and keep the family together despite all they are going through.
This film is truly like no other. Everything I have read about Cassavetes basically says the same thing: his movies are like no other director's movies. To me, they are more like watching real people going through real life situations, so intense and uncomfortable that you forget you are watching a movie. You start trying to identify with the characters and ultimately feel sad for their lives and emotional struggles. One thing I know, though I am far from a film expert (look at most of the trash I review), I can tell an important film when I see one. And this is it folks. Brilliant, moving, yet not really fun to watch. Most of the scenes in this film seem to go on forever, though you can't help but watch every second. Watching this film seemed more like work than enjoyment, but when it was over, I definitely felt like I accomplished something. I know what you're thinking, that I am full of crap but I ask you to just watch this film and see what you think. You may agree...or you may hunt me down and leave a flaming bag of poo on my doorstep.