“Before I met you, I thought I was in trouble,” says moneyed museum worker Minnie (Gena Rowlands) to longhaired car park attendant Seymour (Seymour Cassel) over a hot dog and a coffee. Such is the basis of true love in Minnie and Moskowitz, a shaggy, unusually romantic comedy that is nonetheless pure John Cassavetes. After a long introductory sequence in which each character fills the screen with the rhythm of their respective lives, they meet when Seymour rescues Minnie from a blind date gone hopelessly bad. Minnie and Seymour have almost nothing in common—he’s a talkative, spontaneous goof with quicksilver emotions, a dead-end job, and little ambition, she’s a shy, insecure but sincere upper-class single in an abusive affair with a married man (an uncredited Cassavetes, insidiously charming and cruelly bullying). But they are both lonely romantics with a love of Bogart movies. As in most of Cassavetes’s work, the script is less a story than a string of dramatic engagements colored with the quirks and emotional impulses of its characters, and he takes his time exploring the nooks and crannies of the volatile relationship. But amidst the shouting matches and frenzied fights are moments of quiet intimacy, and it turns into the most hopeful portrait of romantic love in the Cassavetes canon, complete with a sunny, uncharacteristically happy home movie ending. —Amazon.com
Descending from Greek immigrants, John Cassavetes was born in New York City in 1929. A popular high-school student, Cassavetes’ fascination for the performance arts led to stint at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He graduated in 1950 and supported himself by playing small parts on stage and TV. As an actor Cassavetes was typecast as tough villains, notably in The Night Holds Terror and the live-TV drama Crime in the Streets. He first gained notice for his performance in the working-class drama Edge of the City. Cassavetes’ acting workshops conducted in New York inspired him to make a film with his students. He funded Shadows through money borrowed from family and friends as well as donations from listeners of the radio show Night People. The film became a landmark in American cinema, winning prizes at the Venice Film Festival. It presented a raw glimpse into urban America in its story of three African-American siblings in 50s New York. Its impact on the emerging independent… read more
YAY!!! IT STEAMS ON NETFLIX. I saw this once -- 38-39 years ago -- and it has stuck with me.
Though having rewatched it, just now, the "Minnie and Moskowitz" of the 18 or 19 year old me -- the "Minnie and Moskowitz" generalized in my memory -- and the "Minnie and Moskowitz" of this 57 year old, is pretty different (sort of like the "Notes from Underground" of my 20th year and the "Notes from Underground" of my 30th).
As I said of "The Passion of Anna" being Bergman's "Love Story", I suppose this would do for being Cassavetes' "Love Story". This one really breaks all the primary illusions you find in romance films, from being "unlucky in love" to the ritual of "meeting of the parents." Recommended in line with "The Passion of Anna" and Kaurismaki's "Shadows in Paradise."