OTB#59: A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence. John Cassavetes. 1974. ⚅

This is the fourth (and highest-rated) Cassavetes movie on the list of Best Movies Ever (Officially).

OK, after watching all these Cassavetes movies, it’s hard not to be charmed by his aesthetic. I think that he’s thinking that he’s showing us actual, real, life, and everything about this movie backs him up on that… except the actors. I’m not thinking of Peter Falk (he’s good), but all the actors here have that look of “yes, I’m totally on a TV show only why is there only one camera?” thing going on. Everybody’s… acting… so much.

Geena Rowlands is, as usual, the exception, and she is totally wonderful. Exceptional, naked performance. We never know whether she’s just… a bit much… or there’s something wrong.

Until we do.

There’s bits in this movie that don’t quite make sense: Why is Nick so angry when he gets home to the children’s party, for instance? I can understand annoyed, but…

It’s a heartbreaking movie.

And, wow, it’s all the family!

I’ve questioned why there’s four Cassavetes movies on this “100 best movies ever” list, but this one is really great, and so striking.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.

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